Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Accident


Sometimes the unexpected happens, and this time, it happened to Don Boyd… Sondra's father. While helping a family plow their field, the plow hit a deep rock or root and flipped the tractor on top of Don pinning him beneath. As we (the Davises) were in Cape Town, Rita rushed Don to the Mukenge Mission Hospital some 2 hours away where he was temporarily stitched up. As a medical evacuation was imminent, our Zambian colleague (Douglas Siampongo) and intern (Rachel Melton) worked tirelessly to equip Don and Rita for leaving the country. After a short bush flight to the nearest town of Solwezi, Don and Rita's medical evacuation service arrived 3 minutes after their arrival, and they were flown to Johannesburg with a refueling stop in Lusaka. Don was admitted to the Milpark Hospital, an excellent facility, where he had immediate surgery to set his broken ulna and radius of his left arm. Fortunately, we were able to get a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg on short notice and arrived 24 hours after Don and Rita. After a cat scan, the doctors decided that Don must have surgery for multiple skull fractures as well. After lengthy discussions, it was decided that air evacuation to the States for further surgery was inadvisable due to the condition of Don's sinuses. Thus, a series of 4 surgeries were scheduled prior to Don being evacuated for further care in the U.S. During this time, the good folks at Southern Africa Bible College opened their arms to us and have helped us in every way.


Christmas in a hospital has brought new insights to the season for our boys, but as Dr. David Broom would say… "and that's a good thing." Noah and Bryson bought a couple of elf hats and sang Christmas carols for Don and the other men in his ward while handing out Christmas cookies. Then while shopping at a local mall for some warm travel clothes for Don and Rita, Noah and Bryson got to meet the "real" Santa Clause… even pulled the beard for verification! So we can count our blessings along the way. We are now all home at Mumena and glad to be back. Don and Rita are starting their furlough early and are in the States for the next few months while Don heals.


DonOnTractor.jpg


Of course one of our greatest blessings has been your notes of encouragement and your prayers for which we are very thankful,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Don out helping people to better feed themselves and their families.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Can it work? (Team Strategy 9)

Can our team strategy work? Can we offer development initiatives in conjunction with church planting efforts without creating a welfare mentality or an unhealthy dependency? Will people "obey the Gospel" simply to receive the development help? Good questions! We ask each other the same each week in our team meetings. There is, however, a theological principle that is our guiding light in the application of this strategy to a productive end, and that is the principle of GRACE.


"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many."
Romans 5:15 KJV


Church planting only works like it is designed to work within the environment of grace. That is how Christ made it. Thus our team must work within "grace parameters". Not every missionary strategy works this way. For instance, institutions must develop a system of justice with rules and policies designed to give fair treatment to its employees and/or clients. This principle of justice must consider rights and law, and people within the institution need to be able to depend on their "contract".


Church planting on the other hand is free to use the principle of GRACE. We establish no system that works via justice; we simply offer "grace gifts" to be stewarded by the recipients. No one can demand their "rights" or become dependent concerning a "gift". This is the environment in which Jesus saw fit to place the church. It is where the process of sanctification takes place. Strategically, the difficulty is in refraining from creating systems of justice with either our church planting efforts or our development initiatives. After all, if we create a system that we control, we can work with greater efficiency. But church planting has no guarantees for efficiency. We plant, God gives the increase, the Spirit indwells, and Jesus rules. If we can maintain our efforts - both church planting and development - within the environment of grace, we should be able to avoid creating situations that result in dependency or the further mental impoverishment of our host community.


We do have one principle of "leverage" with grace, and that is the principle of FAITH.


"By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Romans 5:2 KJV


Should our "grace gift" be unfaithfully used, we simply remove it. After all, GRACE is not un-conditional or cheap. People falling into a welfare mentality with a "grace gift" would qualify as unfaithful. The "tough love" removal of the "grace gift" for the purpose of moving someone to repentance can actually bring someone back to a Godly "stewardship of grace". So the only way that this strategy can produce dependency is if the missionaries fail to have the courage to offer GRACE on the Biblical condition of FAITH.


BrysonAndBabyChick.jpg


Praying for courage,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Bryson and his new gift (which, unfortunately, was swallowed by a snake the next day).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Strategy Diagram (Team Strategy 8)

As the diagram (below) indicates, our strategy has primary and secondary tasks. As we work our primary task of church planting, we coordinate with our short term volunteers who work both in evangelism and holistic development ministry. Thus the missionaries assist the short term participants in productive and responsible cross-cultural outreach. This provides for many skills and hands to minister to holistic needs while allowing the missionary to focus on the primary task.


strategyChart.jpg


At present, we have four major areas where short term volunteers participate annually:



  1. Evangelism

  2. Agriculture & Well Drilling

  3. Education

  4. Medical



All of these are coordinated together to address the whole of man as we seek his transformation into what God created him to be. In this way, each effort can complement the efforts and goals of the others.


"Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it."
Proverbs 3:27 KJV


Our team is aware of the inherent danger of this strategy in the possibility of getting the "development cart" before the "church planting horse". And we have been to the school of hard knocks a few times as we have tried to apply this strategy. But the potential synergy of the Body of Christ working and coordinating together for the advancement of our Lord's Kingdom makes the effort worthwhile.


Working on our coordination,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Our team strategy diagram.



Friday, November 16, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: November 2007


When God's word was breathed out and inspired writers wrote, it is most amazing the certain specific details of events and the fact not all the events and details would be what many would have mentioned . . . at all. What am I saying, God gives us honest and genuine truths of our humanity in such a way that if we would look at our selves with the same genuine honesty, putting aside all facades, myths, misconceptions of reality, and laying down our "rose colored glasses', we would be so amazed as to how God's word speaks to encourage our best efforts, how God perfectly critiques our lives and then demonstrates thru His son the model of which He desires of His creation to aspire to this place . . . ". . . be ye perfect" . . . possible? . . . impossible? . . . God says . . . it is!


With God all things are possible . . .


Each month I tell, what in my mind is, the most inspirational: "Story of the Month."


These are people, lives, actual events in time of individual struggles to survive in this fallen world, wondering why Lord? These people's desire as is all people's desire to find that place of peace, comfort, hope, and love. Yet, not always what one would record.


I have not told you how six of the original twelve men who were baptized five months ago returned to their old life of drunkenness, how I was told of this and when I went to see for my self, when I drove up to the village they all ran into the bush . . .


It took several days for them all to return to our morning bible study. And when they returned, I told them you are not the first to run and unfortunately you will not be the last. They all repented wanting to be right with God, painfully aware of our weakness in our humanity. Yet, finding peace, comfort, hope, and love . . . again . . . in Christ!


Where they had gathered was a common place of gathering for those who are the drinkers of beer, I guess you might call it a bush bar . . . twenty to thirty men gathered . . . around a fire drinking homemade beer. The next day, after the beer had worn off, I asked the man in charge of the village, he is the one selling and profiting from these gatherings, if he would consider a bible study in his village, inviting these friends to hear about Jesus.


He agreed, we started what many would call bad humor . . . the drunk bible study!
We have been meeting every Wednesday evening for six weeks . . . no one has been baptized . . . yet . . . the drunkenness has stopped . . . they are hearing God's Word.


The hopeful news is the fact that, "implanted", this Word has power to save their souls!
Let us never forget why Jesus came . . . to save sinners . . . of which . . . I am.


On the night when Jesus was taken by force, beaten, and then hung on the cross to die . . .
Every one of His friends . . . His followers . . . The Apostles . . . ran . . .
And we also are running: many from God and many to God.


Let us all run . . . to God . . . with endurance . . . the race set before us!
Bart


Friday, November 9, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Holistically Transformational (Team Strategy 7)

Holism and an holistic message lead us to the purpose of our team strategy… transformation. It's not enough to address certain poverty issues. It's not enough to do some good deeds. It's not even enough to just transmit Bible facts. Until man is seated in the heavenly realm, he is only a shadow of what he is created to be. Two Indian missiologists, Jayakumar Christian and Vinay Samuel suggest respectively that there are two major tenets to Christian transformation: (1.) the restoration of one's true identity as children of God, and (2.) the recovery of one's true vocation… what is my purpose and stewardship?

"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus…


For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."


Ephesians 2:6 & 10 NIV


The picture below shows a group of students with their teacher at a local primary school in the Mumena Chieftaincy. This school had 300 students and 2 teachers when we came. After volunteering to help the educational needs of the school, we noticed that our help was being "taken advantage of for personal gain". We promptly removed our help sending shock waves through the community, all the way to the Chief's palace. This led to many public and private meetings with both officials and villagers concerning why we - as Christians - would stop doing good within an environment of "normal" corruption. In other words, why we would attach our "holistic ministry" to "transformational standards".


The result has been slow but stunning! Over the course of 12 months, the community began clamoring for change; the headmen began meeting with their Chief; the Chief began meeting with government officials. One of the school faculty "found the kitchen too hot" and left. The other (pictured) found Christ! The government has sent new teachers to adequately staff the school. We are now in position to begin "helping" once again. We have begun with the new water well below. Transformation has begun!


studentsWithSupplies.jpg


Watching in awe,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Happy students with their "in Christ" teacher stewarding their resources.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Holistic Message (Team Strategy 6)


What does "obeying the Gospel" mean to a person who does not even view reality as God created it? For missionaries, this is an ever present danger in cross-cultural communication. At worst, one teaches the Gospel and obedience is offered yet without understanding. Then syncretism, the attributing of pagan meanings to Christian forms, is often the sad result. At best, students cannot "count the cost" concerning a faith choice.


Our team strategy depends on Kingdom theology to help us address this concern. One finds the term "the Kingdom" repeatedly in scripture referring to the "big picture" of how God views reality… God's worldview so to speak. This encompasses the spiritual and physical realms and their interaction thus providing a message that is holistic. Equipped with this understanding, students are able to address the question of obedience to the gospel with a faith that encompasses their mind, heart, and behavior. A clear choice of allegiance can be made.


"But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women."
Acts 8:12 KJV


DouglasBaptizingWoman.jpg


Trying to communicate clearly,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Douglas Siampongo assisting a Kaonde woman to obey the Gospel in baptism.


For further reading on this subject:
Beasley-Murray, "Jesus & the Kingdom of God"
Davis, Wayne "The Kingdom of God"
Dickson, Roger "The Sovereignty of Deity"
Ferguson, Everett "The Everlasting Kingdom"
McGuiggan, Jim "The Reign of God"
Van Rheenan, Gailyn "Communicating Christ in Animistic Contexts" &
"Missions, Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies"


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Holism (Team Strategy 5)


"Brian, you must work with man as God created man to be worked with..." said my uncle Wayne as he was trying to teach me how he works in the mission of God in India. The way we work with mankind reveals our "worldview" of mankind. Do we compartmentalize man into physical and spiritual parts as Paul Hiebert, an Anthropologist and Missions author, suggests? Do we seek to make "them" like "us" as paternalism demands? Do we "fix" man's problems with a little bit of "good old fashioned elbow grease and hard cash" as modernism is prone to attempt? Do we "accept" all points of view as equally valid as post-modernism is inclined to do? Do we give into "fatalism" as animistic worldviews assume that "really, we can do nothing"?


Holism has become an important word in our team's strategy. It attempts to address certain "blind spots" of older methodologies. This usually results - uncomfortably so - in a more complicated strategy. Yet, we believe holism expresses more closely a Christ-like strategy. It certainly recognizes the "way God made man".


Luke 2:52
"And Jesus matured, growing up in both body and spirit, blessed by both God and people."
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson)


There are certainly "priorities" that need to be observed in working with man. But we ignore the reality of our created being at the peril of "superficial conversion". The fact is, we have a message as "Word" that speaks to "Whose God is true?". We have a message as "Sign" that shows "Whose God is more powerful?". We have a message as "Deed" that demonstrates "What works?" in this world that God created. And we have a message as "Life" that speaks to what we are to be in our "being". Against such, pagan religion pales in comparison.


BrianWithUncleWayne.jpg


"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made",


Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Uncle Wayne (Davis) - a fisher of men - teaching Noah and Bryson how to fish on our last furlough.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

FAQ: General Questions about Zambia Part 1


What kind of government does Zambia have?


Zambia has a democratic government similar to the US government. It has three "arms": the Presidential Office, the Legislative body, and the Judiciary. The president is limited to 2 five year terms.


For more information, see:
http://www.zambiaembassy.org/government.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Zambia


Who is the president of Zambia?


Levy Patrick Mwanawasa


Mwanawasa is a good president. Zambia has thrived under his leadership and the country continues to grow.


Is there much curroption in Zambia?


No... Recently Mwanawasa has passed an anti-curroption act which has helped elimate curroption in Zambia. Unlike some African countries, visiters can expect to be treated fairly with no worry of bribery.


What is the population of Zambia?


The population of Zambia is around 11 million people.


For more information, see:
http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Africa/Zambia-POPULATION.html


What is the average life expectancy in Zambia?


The life expectancy is around 40 years. This is mainly due to AIDS. In rural areas, the life expectancy is higher because families are more intact.


For more information, see:
http://www.who.int/countries/zmb/en/

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

FAQ: Where is Mumena?


Mumena is located in north-western Zambia in a region called the Copperbelt. The nearest city is about 30 miles away and is called Solwezi.


Click here to View a Tour in Google Earth
Once the file is loaded into Google Earth, then click the play button under MumenaMissionsTour.klm on the left.
Download Google Earth


Satellite Pictures (courtesy of Google Earth):



01B Africa-Satellite.jpg
Africa


02B SouthernAfrica-Satellite.jpg
Southern Half of Africa


03B Zambia-Satellite.jpg
Zambia


04B NorthWesternZambia-Satellite.jpg
North-West Zambia (Copperbelt)


05B SolweziToMumena-Satellite.jpg
Solwezi Area


06B MumenaArea-Satellite.jpg
Mumena Area


07 MumenaOutreachCenter-Satellite.jpg
Our Houses




Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mumena, Zambia, Africa, Solwezi, Kaonde... I'm Confused


"I thought you lived near Solwezi and worked with Chief Mumena. Now you live at Mumena and work with Kaonde?"


Ok, so these names are a little confusing. Here are the definitions for each name to let you know what we are talking about.



  • Africa is a continent, like Europe or North America. There are 53 countries in the African continent.

  • Zambia is the country where we are working. It is located in the middle of the southern half of Africa.

  • Mumena is the name of the people group among whom we work. Chief Mumena is the leader of these people. The people make up his chieftaincy. Mumena is basically the size of a small county in the US.

  • Solwezi is the nearest city to Mumena. It has a population of about 30,000 people. It also has a single grocery store called Shop-Rite which is where we will buy most of our food.

  • Kaonde is the name of the people who speak kiKaonde (Kaonde language) and descend from the Kaonde tribe. There are about 350,000 people who would be considered Kaonde. Both Mumena and Solwezi are in the Kaonde area.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: October 2007


Paul Harvey would always end with “Good Day” . . . .

The best day of my life was when Stacey said she would marry me.
This, the beginning of many “good days” I have spent with this woman, my wife.
The birth of my children has made for “good days”.
I have been blessed with many “good days”.

Today will be one of those days I will cherish . . . for a lifetime . . .

Today I escorted a blind woman, holding on to my arm, trusting a man she has not known for long to lead her down a rocky path, through some brush, to the river, where again, with trembling hands she took my hand and stepped into the water and as I proclaimed with my hand over her pounding heart . . . I baptize you Esther, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit . . . this very good day . . . she saw the light!

The rest of the story . . . “This Gospel of Jesus Christ” . . . still active and still powerful!

Today we baptized Dickson Sawanda, Janie Nyanzewu, Ian Nyamasambu, Mary Canada, John Nyamasambu, Josephina Myanzewu, and from above Esther Myanzewu.
Obby and Claudis Swanda had been previously baptized. Three other ladies were out, but left word they want to be baptized Tuesday when they return. These nine and the three to be added on Tuesday, when they come together again next Sunday . . . to Break Bread . . . the Kingdom of God at Sawanda, the church! Oh Lord, my God, how great thou art!

We will continue teaching the New Testament Church to these new citizens of the Family of God, their individual servanthood within this Household of God, and to observe all that Jesus commanded. We will meet every Tuesday until they have matured in Christ.

Sundays I will be alternating between: Sawanda Church of Christ; Mushingashi Church of Christ, and Kambazhi Church of Christ . . . three new church plants . . .

My words are lost in my awe of our God!

“Good Day”, yes, a very good day.

Bart

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Do No Harm (Team Strategy 4)


One of the governing principles of our team strategy formation was "to do no harm". This seems to be a self-evident principle, but in reality, becomes one of the most difficult concepts to apply. "Doing good" is an activity highly governed by a culture's "way of doing things". No missionary starts out to "do harm", but often our most well-meaning endeavors go sadly amiss as a fallen world or sometimes just a different world responds in surprising ways. Missions history is full of these examples much to missionary chagrin. To some degree, these mistakes are inevitable as missionaries being "cultural outsiders" seek to help a new culture. But to the degree we can "look before leaping", we should. And to the degree we can learn from our past mistakes, we must.


"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
1 Corinthians3:13 KJV


As the picture below suggests, there may be better ways to apply a good thing!


ElectricPoleInRoad.jpg


Carefully driving in Africa,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: well meaning electrical workers create hazard for vehicle traffic.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mumena Mission Part 1: Chief Mumena's Desire for His People to Know God


When Jonathan was offered the position to become Chief Mumena, he saw this as an opportunity to bring the message of God to his people. As a businessman living in the wealthier part of Zambia, he knew that moving to Mumena would be a a difficult change for his family. However, he knew that God could use him to bless the people of Mumena land, so he accepted the role as Chief.

Years later, Jonathan saw an opportunity to make a bigger difference among his people. He had been talking with Lenard Mujala about teaching God's word in Mumena land. There existed a large section of land which had belonged to an NGO (Non-governmental aid organization). The NGO had disappeared and left the people of Mumena worse than when they had come. They had promised to train the people through various developmental programs, but none of the programs had worked. Now the land was mostly unused and the buildings were falling apart.

Clearly, an NGO can not bring hope to a people. What the people of Mumena really need is to have God in their hearts. Then, they will have hope and will see that God can improve their lives in many ways.

Eventually, word had spread about Chief Mumena's desire to have someone come and teach his people about Christ. When Hillcrest church of Christ in Abilene heard this news, they saw this as a wonderful opportunity. Their missionary Brian Davis and his family was planning on finishing up the work in Cape Town, South Africa and needed a new place to go.

The Davises had always shown a desire to move to the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) which is directly north of Zambia. Brian and Sondra had worked with Congolese refugees in South Africa for many years and were looking for any opportunity to move there. However, the DRC was not yet safe for a missionary family. Perhaps God had a better plan. Although, Mumena is not in the DRC, it is only 60 minutes from the DRC border and many Congolese refugees live near Mumena. This would be a great opportunity for the Davises. They could continue their work with the Congolese in addition to starting a work among the Mumena people whom seemed eager to hear God's message.

Hillcrest began communication with Chief Mumena. The Chief offered to let the church use the land for whatever purpose. However, he did not want to see more failed development programs. He believed strongly that his people would not change until they had God in their hearts. Therefore everyone was in agreement that the primary goal was to bring God's word to Mumena land.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mumena FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Coming Soon

On November 4th, I will doing a presentation during Sunday morning service at Cedar Hill Church of Christ. The main purpose is to inform people about the work based on Fred Yarbrough's, Monte Cates', and my observations. The three of us visited Mumena on September 15-25.
In preparation for the presentation, I have been asking different people in the congregation of any questions they have about the work in Zambia. I will structure the presentation around these questions and also create a DVD with more details. In the process of creating this presentation, I will also make the information available from here. Also in the future, if you ever have any questions, please feel free to ask (leave a comment).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Douglas Sawanda: The Rest of the Story

The rest of the story . . . Well, it's not complete, but that day (last Monday) when we first met they ran and gathered all the family and nearby neighbors. We had twelve men, ten women, six teenagers, and ten plus children . . . we taught for two hours . . . we went back the next day. There were sixteen men, ten women, four teenagers, and ten plus children. . . . we taught for two hours . . . we went back on Sunday and there were over thirty adults gathered and many chidren . . . (I was at another location) Douglas taught for three hours. I go back tomorrow (Tuesday) to continue teaching . . .
I will let you know?

Regards To All,
Bart Bruington

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: September 2007

"Mumena Christian Outreach Center" Solwezi, Zambia (Africa)

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose". (Romans 8:28)

There was a devout man, Cornelius, whom we read about in Acts 10 . . . he respected, served, and prayed to God. Thru His divine intervention, God sent Peter to teach this man and his family all things commanded . . . and Peter taught . . . Jesus!

His name is Dickson Sawanda, no doubt a devout man, who respects, who serves, and prays to God. You see it is this Dickson who has been reading his bible and teaching his family about the God of Creation. It is this Dickson who has been teaching his family about this Jesus. It is this Dickson who saw a church in the bible . . . and realizing the need he decided to build a church. Attempting to discern the identity of this church he called for a Methodist preacher to assist him, yet soon saw the teaching of this denomination did not agree with what he could read from the bible. As he continued reading his bible he soon realized something significant happened on the day of Pentecost. So again he sent for assistance, thinking it could be found from the Pentecostal Church, but again he was disappointed to find many differences from the church of the bible. He continued reading his bible and praying everyday for God to send the truth . . .

Who am I? I am only a man to serve, in this place, my God . . . we have been teaching in this area for six months . . . in these past months many have come to receive Jesus and have been added (transferred) by God to His family, the Kingdom of Christ on earth, the church (Colossians 1:12-14). It is this church built by Jesus (Matthew 16:18) founded by Christ (Ephesians 2:18-4:16) purchased by His blood (Acts 20:28d) it is this church that belongs to Christ . . . His Church.

It is this church that began in AD 33ish on the Day Of Pentecost (Luke 24:44-52 and Acts 1:1 thru Acts 2:47) it is this church that we have been teaching!

This man, Dickson Sawanda, heard of these teachings . . .

I was working last Monday at a nearby school, hand digging, a water well for the children there and for the community to have a good source of clean water. A man came and found me asking, "if I was the one teaching about the church of the bible?", he said, "a man named Dickson Sawanda had been praying and now was requesting me to please come to his village and teach his family about this church . . . "

I went immediately . . . that very hour . . . and we began in Acts Chapter 10!

I told Dickson . . . the church has already been built . . .

You will have to read next months report for . . . "the rest of the story"

God is assuredly alive and active . . . God is still working mightily through His Word!

Thank you again . . . my God for allowing even me to serve you in this place

Bart

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bruington Questions and Answers

What you are presently doing?
Stacey and I had been assigned work at three preaching points and one existing church.

Monday afternoons we are teaching at the Mblungu School Area:
One hour with the students. This has just started last week.
We will begin adult bible study with the parents next week.
We pray this preaching point will be blessed by God and develope in to a new church plant.

Tuesday afternoons we are teaching at the preaching point called Sawanda Village:
With twenty to thirty adults attending. This has just started last week, I will report in my monthly update.

I teach the men.
Stacey teaches the women.
Savannah teaches the children.
We pray this preaching point will be blessed by God and develope in to a new church plant.
We had been teaching at the existing church Mutanda. The men of this church are assisting as we teach at the preaching points.

Wednesday afternoons we are at the new church plant Mushingashi:
This was a preaching point that began after the Medical Mission left and the local people asked for continued teaching.

Myself, Douglas, and Kasongo (two Zambian Brothers) had been teaching twelve to sixteen adults.
Savannah and Stacey have been teaching eighty plus kids.

As we taught some have been convicted. We have now over the past two months baptized sixteen individuals.

These baptisms have now changed our effort in this way:
I teach the men of this new church plant about thier own development and growth as children of God in His kingdom the Church.
We are teaching the elements and organization of Christ's New Testament Church.
We are teaching if I may humbly state what will take a lifetime of understanding spiritually and intellectually ". . . to observe all that Jesus commanded" (Matthew 28:20).

It is our intent that God will grant genuine understanding that these men and women will continue until we/they all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulliness of Christ.

Stacey is teaching these foundations to the women of the church. As Savannah continues to teach the children.
Douglas and Kasongo go out to individual houses to continue individual bible studies with the people of this area.

As they receive the word and as they are baptized into the church they come together with the church each Sunday for worship and continued study with myself and Stacey. On Sunday we average twenty adults and twenty children at the worship service.

Thursday afternoons we are at the new church plant Kambazhi:
This preaching point that began after the Medical Mission left and again the local people asked for continued teaching.

Myself, Douglas, and Kasongo (two Zambian Brothers) had been teaching twenty to thirty adults.
Savannah and Stacey have been teaching twenty plus kids.

As we taught some have been convicted. We have now over the past two months baptized twenty-eight individuals.
With these baptisms we have continued as above. On Sunday at worship we are averaging fifty adults and fourty children.

Fridays are our family day . . .
Myself, Stacey, Savannah, Lane, and True: we go do fun things together as a family.

Saturdays are for team meetings, catch-up on certain projects, and when possible rest (and this Saturday . . . answering your questions).


What plans you have for 2008 in church planting and training?

Until these churches and preaching points are firmly established, we will continue with them. I feel the men of Kambazhi will be ready to continue on thier own within the next two months. They have started with different men each week leading in prayer, leading in singing, administering over the breaking of bread, preaching, and teaching. We have had studies in each of these areas and we continue teaching these things of the church.

Sunday I have continued with the bible study, as we work weekly with each man's responsibility in serving the church so that on Sunday they are prepared for thier part in the worship service. There is somthing most amazing to set in the back of the church on Sunday and observe as the men: pray, sing, peach, and serve the Lord's Supper to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

To think two months ago in this place was only confusion (many mixed religions) and darkness . . . and today . . . there is light, truth, and hope! PRAISE GOD!!!

As each area develops we will move on to our next assigned preaching points . . . only God knows our future plans, but for this man, my wife, and for our children we will continue to serve our God in this place . . . in this way . . . God's Way . . .

"Looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith" . . . let us all consider Him.

Bart

Davis Missionary Journey: Understanding Poverty (Team Strategy 3)


One of the first "realities" to confront us in our team strategy formation was the poverty around us. Our feelings would vacillate between the extremes of despair, fatalism, and paternalism… sometimes all within a 24 hour period. As we sought to better understand poverty via the missiological tools of anthropology, sociology and psychology; it was actually our theological reflections that proved most helpful.
Missiology helps us to understand poverty as a complex web of broken relationships: with self, God, society, and the environment. Lack of education is complicated by lack of nutrition. Lack of social justice is complicated by unjust gods. Lack of self respect is complicated by the lack of understanding why Creator God made me… and on and on. Bryant L. Myers' book, "Walking With the Poor" has a great many insights on this subject.
Theology makes clear that the poor are whole living people, inseparably body, mind, and soul. The poor are embedded in families, communities, and social systems. And yes, the poor are sinners, but they are made in the image of God with gifts and the potential to become Kingdom-like. Theology teaches us that poverty is a result of relationships that do not work; are not just; are not for life; are not harmonious or enjoyable; but rather, are fragmented, dysfunctional, & oppressive. Thus without a strong theology of sin, comprehensive explanations for poverty are hard to come by as it is sin that distorts relationships. Sin is the root cause of deception, distortion, and domination. Poverty becomes intensely spiritual as the poor develop an identity of "worthlessness", an "I can do nothing" vocation, and - finally - a sense of "being" that indeed "I was meant to be poor".

"Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."
Proverbs 30:8-9 KJV


Our team strategy attempts to understand poverty as God sees poverty: understanding must proceed programming.


kaondeChild.jpg

Trying to look through God's glasses,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: as the traditional Kaonde "way of life" disintegrates, new realities of poverty are confronting these precious people.


Friday, October 5, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Reality (Team Strategy 2)


In what reality do we find ourselves? What is God doing here? How can I participate? These are all questions that put the missionary in the "seat of learning" prior to "the place of teaching" which is as it should be. One reality that confronts all missionaries today is that the world is different than it used to be. No longer do you find homogenous tribes "untouched" by western influence. I have never been anywhere on earth that I didn't find - at least - a Coca Cola advertisement! Thus, globalization is a new reality for us missionaries.
This often creates a domino effect culturally. Tribes used to economic systems based on "barter" now have to cope with "cash economies". This in turn creates new categories of "poverty" that were never experienced before often producing a cultural distortion not easily understood by the tribe. Old ways of life come to an end and new ways are sought from the global smorgasbord. Sometimes, "new ways" are not sought and a pervading sense of "dissipation" sets in. This is the current experience of the Kaonde tribe.
At the same time, our western home cultures are going through a culture shift the likes we haven't seen since the advent of the Guttenberg press in 1436. We are shifting from "modern" to "post-modern". The leadership of our sending churches are from the modern era and our supporting church memberships are from the post-modern era. One hundred years ago, a missionary might have been put on a ship with his luggage packed in his coffin. Fifty years ago, a missionary might have received one visit per year if he was lucky. Today, the post-modern generation seeks to "experience God". It is rare for us not to have around 100 visitors during the course of a year… even in the remote reaches of the African bush.
Changing realities are only a tragedy if our methodology has been elevated to the level of "doctrine" and is no longer "flexible". In truth, "changing realities" is one of the most dependable constants. For the missionary, changing realities often offer us tremendous opportunity to teach a "new way of understanding reality"!


"… even so we also should walk in newness of life."
Romans 6:4 KJV


Thus our team strategy must reflect methods - derived from theological reflection - which cope with the present reality of the Kaonde tribe while involving - responsibly and productively - our sending churches who seek to participate with God in His mission.
Sound like a tall order? Maybe… but regardless, it portends great opportunity!


globe.jpg

Glad we are working WITH God (He is probably big enough to deal with this),
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: where we live in Northwest Zambia (if you look close enough).


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Mumena Missions Blog

Last week I (Rick Love) returned from a 12 day visit to Mumena. As the computer geek/expert on the mission team, I decided it was time to set up a blog for work that is being done at Mumena.

Newsletters are old school and so few people have the time to read them. Hopefully, this blog will enable more people to participate and pray for God's work at Mumena.

Purpose of this blog:
  • Keep you informed about God's work at Mumena.
  • Enable visitors to Mumena to increase their cultural understanding of the Kaonde people.
  • Provide resources for kiKaonde (Kaonde language) for missionaries, apprentices, or interns who will live at Mumena long term.
  • Provide a productive hobbie for me so that I don't go through technology withdrawal.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Team Strategy



MISSIONARY JOURNEY: Team Strategy
a mission log of…
Brian & Sondra Davis
P-Bag S-42
Solwezi, Zambia
260-977-142-503 (Brian's Cell)
011-260-8-240-025 (Home Radio Phone)
brsdavis@coppernet.zm



We just had the pleasure of a visit by Rick Love, who's family will be joining us in January of '08, and one of his elders and missions committee members. As our team forms, so has our team strategy solidified via a consensus process involving our missionaries and supporting churches. I want to take the next few Journeys to introduce the main ideas that compose our team strategy to better communicate what we do and how we do it.
First, we might ask why we need a team strategy. A team strategy is the "game plan" that keeps the different members of a team on the same "page". It details the methods that we use which have been derived from theological principles. Though theological principles remain constant, missiological methods need to remain flexible in order to cope with the changing realities of the world around us. Our team strategy begins with a challenging quote from the missions author, John V. Taylor, who said,



"We must relinquish our missionary presuppositions and begin in the beginning of a new work with the Holy Spirit. This means humbly watching in any situation in which we find ourselves in order to learn what God is trying to do here, and then doing it with Him."
(The Go-Between God: The Holy Spirit and Christian Mission, 1972)



This quote is based on the realization - as Gailyn Van Rheenan puts it in his book Missions: Biblical Foundations & Contemporary Strategies - that "Mission springs forth from God." Gailyn then quotes Exodus 19:4,



"'You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself."
NIV



Thus our first questions concerning our strategy are "What is God doing among the Kaonde tribe of North Western Province, Zambia, and then, how can we participate?"
Rick was full of exciting ideas concerning these questions this past week. I hope sharing in the coming weeks about our strategy will be a blessing to you in your part of the world as we all seek to participate with God in His mission!




LoveFamilyHillcrest.jpg



Every mission team needs a little Love,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson



Pictured: (left to right) Karen, Matthew, Rick, and Lydia



For more information of our mission, visit our website at www.hillcrestonline.com.



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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Team Building


I've mentioned before how difficult it is to form a new team while living on the field. I've no doubt that my wife's prayers have been heard in this regard. Even while we were on furlough, a family who had worked temporarily with us last year committed to two more years. And in a few months yet another family plans to join bringing our number to 5 families.


God builds the team!


This realization has some profound ramifications. When asked how we can hope to keep a team of such disparate individuals from "coming apart at the seams", the fact of God's "work to assemble it" answers the question. The fact that our prayers have been answered "His way" lets us know "our place". His providential arrangement supersedes personal sensibilities. The success of our work is in direct proportion to our submission to His organization and leadership.


"With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;


Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."


Ephesians 4:2-3 KJV


Can this "mission experience" benefit our church plantings? Is not the church God's "team" as well?


Thankful for His providence,


Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: our children certainly glad of the Bruington's commitment.



teamMeating_Children.jpg

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: August 2007

God has been so good to us in this place. We are all well. We are happy to be here.
We have almost completed our house, only a few details remain. The other half of the duplex is now ready for the other American family. All that remains is to build kitchen cabinets and closets in the bedrooms. We are anxious for our neighbors to arrive.

Each morning I have been having a bible study here at the house for any who want to come. We average twelve to twenty people. This week we baptized two more people. From this bible study we have baptized fourteen. Four of the men from this study are planning to go to another area about one hour away, that is if I am the driver, to plant a new church. One of the mens family lives there and asked if they would come and teach. I will take the men on Monday to stay all week teaching. I will return on Friday and stay the night teaching all day Friday and Saturday. We will let you know the outcome?

Monday: We will begin bible studies at Mbulungu this week.

Tuesday: At Mutnada we baptized one of the ladies from Staceys class.

Wednesday: At Mushingashi we continue teaching these twelve newly baptized believers about the church. We had an all day seminar to train the men. Eight men from the church attended, we invited men from the church at Kambazhi (six), and the church at Kayonge (four), and from my morning bible study (six), and all total we were twenty-four. We taught all day about the New Testament Church. Some of the men went out house to house to set up individual bible studies. From these studies we baptized two more into the body of Christ at Mushingashi . . . they are now . . . fourteen. Praise God!

Thursday: At Kambazhi the church continues to grow in number, from the twelve, we baptized another ten individuals over the last month . . . Praise God!
Last Sunday at worship there were sixty-two in attendance. We continue teaching and preaching. The people have been very receptive to the Word. Each week we teach the church and we send out men to begin house to house bible studies.

Friday: Is our family day. Lane is building as the people say, a house in the tree.
We go swimming with the kids at the creek, this is where we go to baptize.
Last Sunday at worship, True wanted to partake of the Lords Supper, Stacey said, not until your baptized, a few seconds later True replied, Wanna, (he calls Savannah, Wanna) baptized me, so I can! It seems while swimming True was baptized by Wanna. It is good to know as the children watch the baptisms they are learning. I asked True, how were you baptized, he said, in the father the son and holy spirit. I thank God for this positive beginning for the future decisions of our children . . . one day.

Raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord
Pray for us all,
Bart

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: July 2007

We greet you in the name of the Lord.

Monday: At Mbulungu we are still preparing to begin teaching bible to the four hundred and fifty student’s grade one through grade eight. We will have the whole student body and teachers for one hour beginning September 5th. We are confident to find opportunity to begin bible studies with the parents and individuals living in this area. Last week I went and visited some of the people, one of the men and his family is willing to begin a bible study. Just like that the seed is planted. Pray for this place and the people.

Tuesday: At Mutanda a few weeks back we baptized one into Christ. Pray for this man.
Last week we stood on the road side and invited twenty “passer-byers”.
For those formally educated, you may not find this word in the dictionary, but it is a common event in our life . . . each day we are passed by many people who are lost . . . we have the truth in us, and Jesus asked us to share this truth.

Stacey continues to teach the ladies and Savannah teaches the children. You should see Savannah as see teaches, not to boast, just a simple answer to our prayer, in coming to this place, Zambia, we asked God, if possible, let us begin a legacy with our children may they come to know you and to serve you. God is answering our prayer. Thank you Lord.

Wednesday: At Mushingashi we continue teaching these twelve newly baptized believers about their own Christian development, growth, and all that Jesus commanded, we are also teaching this new body of Christ, the church at Mushingashi, about the church. We will have an all day seminar next Saturday to train the men to take individual responsibility for the care and development of Christ’s church.

Last Sunday at the worship service, when the church came together to break bread: we praised God in song making melody in our hearts; we had a lesson about the church; we prayed to God; we preached the Gospel, at the invitation one came forward asking to be baptized; we had a lesson about the Lord’s Supper and we then had the Lord’s Supper.

There were 42 people who had gathered . . . what a wonderful beginning.
We went to the creek to baptize the one . . . and the Lord was continually adding to their number those who were being saved (Acts 2:47) . . . . He still does . . . thank you, Lord!

Thursday: At Kambazhi four weeks ago we had twenty-nine for our second bible study. Three weeks ago there were sixteen, ten asked to be baptized . . . praise God.

God’s Kingdom is increasing, the church of Christ at Kambazhi, pray for this church.

Friday: Is our family day we go off with the kids a do the fun things they enjoy: riding bikes; swimming; building things; playing games; playing with orphans.

Stacey home school’s the kids each morning. My mornings are busy with construction: finishing cabinets and closets in our house and preparing the Love’s side of the duplex

Bart

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: May and June 2007

Greetings everyone: our family, our friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“We are home”, as True says. We are finally home, after living in our suit cases since August 5th, 2005, we unpacked for the first time in our Mumena home. Some would think for an entire family of five to live in a suit case for almost two years is strange, yet we have come to vividly realize we are only sojourners , “we are only passing through”, as the song says, but for True we are in a place he calls home. We are most thankful to Hillcrest Church of Christ for providing all the materials needed to prepare our home.

We have been in the house since June and we are wonderfully pleased, we have running water, even not water, we have inside toilets, and we have power . . . solar power.

The solar has been most interesting to work with as I have never done this before, yet we have learned, and I might add, it is working, flip a switch and there is light.

Again, to the entire congregation at Hillcrest . . . “thank you . . . for giving to the Lord”!



As soon as we moved in it was time to prepare for the medical mission. What do you do with forty Americans in the bush of Africa. For one you sit back and let “em” alone, you enjoy the company, the fellowship, the love of fellow Americans, fellow Christians who desire to reach out and share the “Good News” about our Savior. These will be times we will cherish forever in our hearts. There is a kindred bond between us that will never end!

This year the Medical Team went to Maheba, Kambazhi, Mushingashi, and here at Mumena. A day was spent at each location and the team treated over two thousand people. While the people are being treated there was an on going children’s ministry and a full team of “spiritual advisers”. The spiritual advisers introduce these people to the “Great Physician”, Jesus. Many who were introduced to this Jesus became disciples and were baptized into this wonderful family of God. I will be reporting for the next several months about some of these new brothers and sisters. I hope and pray that all mankind will realize, appreciate, and come to know the greatest story of all , the greatest event of life, and the glory of God in His Son . . . “Jesus” . . . the gospel!

The birth, the life, the death, and greater still . . . the resurrection . . . of this Jesus.



Stacey and I (Savannah, Lane, and True) and Rachel (Our fellow sister in Christ), will be working with the two individuals who were baptized at Kambazhi: Dickson and Doreen Kapama. Pray for this family. From the Medical Mission we have followed this couple to their village and with their assistance we have set up a bible study in this village. We have been going and will continue going every Thursday to this village and to the Kambazhi area, house to house (or hut to hut), continuing these bible studies. Pray for these studies. This current effort has twelve men attending, these men are the head of their families, I will be teaching these men about Jesus, as Stacey teaches their wives, and Savannah and Rachel teach their children. All combined we expect to be teaching fifty to sixty people with certain hope that God will open their hearts and minds to receive his spirit through baptism, to become children of God, and be added to the Kingdom . . . the church . . . His family, through His Son . . . Jesus . . . Again, please pray for these people.

We will continue teaching Dickson, Doreen, and all others who choose to accept Christ,

“ . . . and teach them to obey all that I have commanded” (Matthew 28: 18-20).

Every Wednesday we will be going to Mushingashi. The Medical Team baptized five individuals: Maliyote Kaso; Jkshinda Jacob; Moddy Kyembe; Charles Lumano; and Edward Kyasauka . . . praise God . . . and pray for these brothers and sisters in Christ.

As above these were followed by Kasongo Kakoma (a fellow brother in Christ, who has moved to Mumena to assist with spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ) to their villages.

Last week in the first study with these people six more were baptized . . . the gospel, still powerful, still active, and still through the spirit . . . convicting people . . . praise God.

Did you see it? Read again above what has happened . . . did you see it?

May I, with all honor and glory to God, introduce to you the church (Matthew 16:18), let us all praise our God for adding to His Kingdom (Acts 2:47) . . . “Mushingashi” . . . the newest body of believers (Ephesians 2:11-22) . . . the church that belongs to Christ, purchased by his blood (Acts 20:28b) . . . Mushingashi church of Christ!

Stacey and I, along with: Kasongo; Douglas; Freemont; and Obed, will continue bible studies in this area. This week there were eleven men and one lady attending, while Stacey and Rachel were teaching the children (there were twenty plus). All combined this study has over forty in attendance and is growing in number . . . wow!

Please pray for these people and for us to speak with boldness, the truth of God.



On Tuesdays we have been going to Mutanda and working with the church, the leaders, and the children. There have been others attending from area villages. Four people have asked to join the assembly. We are now teaching them more accurately the way of God (Acts 18:26) we expect to baptize these “into Christ” (Galatians 3:27) next week.

Pray for these, this church, and this place.



On Mondays we will be teaching bible at one of the area schools: “Mbulungu”.

We have meet with the leaders of this school and they will allow us to begin teaching bible, at the school every Monday, to the four hundred students attending . . . wow!

What a huge door that has opened at this place, imagine, from these students, how many homes we will enter . . . house to house . . . teaching . . . preaching . . . Jesus Christ!

The harvest is plentiful . . . pray for the Lord . . . to send more laborers.



This is our beginning, our service to the Lord in this place. I thank God everyday for allowing me to be here in this place, I thank God for allowing me through His grace, through His mercy, through His Love, and through His Son to be a part of this Kingdom. I thank God for His gift . . . His Son . . . Our Savior . . . “Jesus” . . . The Christ!



Thank you Lord for loving me, thank you Lord for blessing me.

Thank you Lord for making me whole and saving my soul

Let us all with one accord sing praises to Christ the Lord.

Let us all unite in song to praise Him all day long.



I want to thank you . . . Lord, for loving us.



Bart

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: April 2007

Greetings everyone: our family, our friends, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

At four in the morning, I get up early, it seems the only quiet time I can find and for me the best time: to pray (Talk to God); to read my bible (Listen to God); and to meditate, (Consider the things God desires of all people, to examine myself in light of these truths.)
Often I find I am in need of restoration (II Corinthians 13:11), Paul reminds us aim for restoration. We all will find, after comparing our life to Jesus, we need restoration!

We came here to teach about this Jesus.

Although, typical human natured as I am, I loose sight of my purpose. Upon our arrival my primary focus has been to set up house, our home. In Zambia this take a whole new meaning, sometimes it means completely building a place to live and all the “things” we think are important like: running water; electricity; and even sewage. In many places these luxuries are not considered as luxuries, yet here we realize they are. Anyway, I have been very busy putting these things in order. You would agree they are important?
After four weeks of serious construction one of the men, of the Zambian construction crew, that is certain Zambians who have come here looking for “piece work”, a chance to make some “Kwacha” (Zambian money), as you work these people, certain skills are realized, some natural, some from previous employment, most from individual training, it was one of these who came and asked, “When are we going to begin our bible study”?
In the beginning I told this assembled crew of twelve men, the reason we came was as instructed by Jesus, in Matthew 28:18-20, to go: make disciples of all nations; baptizing them . . .; and teaching them to obey all that He commanded. I told them we must work hard and fast to complete the house so I could begin these most important bible studies.
So, Jesus sent a messenger by way of Obed Mukwamba, asking to begin the bible study.
What could I say? We began that day and every morning since, for one hour before we begin our work: we pray; we sing; we study; and we pray. And now, four weeks later this little bible study with twelve men has as many as sixteen to twenty in attendance.
And now the fruit of this little bible study: Obed Mukwamba; Nickson Mofya; Cornelous Sunday; Douglas Kahokola; Darlington Kahokola; Matthews Kapuku; Fredrick Mukwamba; Lawrence Zhalale; and Barron Lubabwe have decided to be Disciples of Christ. One by one, as the Spirit of God has been convicting, these men have asked to be baptized into Christ. Praise our glorious, wonderful, living, and very active God.

Eight new brothers in Christ, Wow!

Lord, forgive me for loosing sight of why I came and thank you for the reminder.

Let us all “AIM FOR RESTORATION”

Bart

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: March 2007

We actually came back. This sounds strange to many. Unless you have lived in a place like this  Third World , until you actually see and live were there is such tremendous need, until you are overwhelmed by the reality that you could never do enough, yet the little you do makes a world of difference to the ones you reach. To see the power of God, living and active, His spirit moving in this place, in His strength through Christ we are compelled to continue. Somewhere in the midst of these truths we realize we can not but continue serving this God. We can not but speak of this Jesus . . . the Savior of the world.

We are back. And here we will stay for as long as God allows us to continue.
More than us, the people, these are such amazing people, these are their stories.

Remember when we were state side I told of the man who worked three hard days last May for $11.25 or 50,000kwacha? He took the $11.25 and planted four new churches: Siamoono Church of Christ (40 believers/bodies/brothers and sisters);
Siankuyu Church of Christ (30 believers/bodies/brothers and sisters);
Sikabenga Church of Christ (35 believers/bodies/brothers and sisters);
Kalewa Church of Christ (35 believers/bodies/brothers and sisters).
Remember I told you before we left I gave him $112.50 or 500,000kwacha?
Here is his report from his activities. His name is Christopher Siatwiko. Pray for him!
He has been working and teaching in the above churches to obey all that Jesus commanded, church development, and leadership. They baptized 19 more individuals and there were 14 restorations. Pray for these believers and pray for these churches.
All together he has now planted 15 new churches. This is a good man of God.
Stacey and I will visit all these churches next September. These people are always asking for bibles and song books. We will purchase bibles and hymnals for these churches.

We visited friends and churches at Namwainga. They are all well. We spent some time with Victoria our Zambian daughter, she is doing good. She is the orphan who we kept the whole time we were here last year. She now lives with a wonderful Zambian family.
We worshiped at Mutala Church of Christ. This was one of the struggling churches that we were working with last year. They have remained strong in their faith and God has blessed them with growth. When we left they had grow to 91 and now they are 127. Praise God for these faithful believers. Pray for this church and its leadership.

We arrived in Mumena the 13th of March and what a reception  home we received. This is where we will be working for the next two years. We are staying in the home of the other missionary family, Brian and Sondra Davis (Noah and Bryson, their boys), that we prepared last summer. They are in the states, they return June 1st. We share the house with Brian and Sondra s parents, Don and Rita Boyd. They also are fellow missionaries living here. We are preparing another duplex for ourselves and for the Loves, Rick and Karen, who will be coming next January. Please pray for these families, our partners.
We hope to move into our side of the duplex by the end of April. I plan to build our cabinets and closets after we move in, with hopes of all work done by May 19th.
We then begin preparing for the Medical Mission that begins June 4th. This will last for four days. There will be twenty or so Americans partnered with Zambians to offer Medical treatment and spiritual treatment at four locations within Mumena. There will be Missionary Interns from Harding University who will stay for several months as part of their missionary training. We will be preparing a guest house for them to stay. This house will be available for all welcomed visitors . . . so . . . consider being our guest and come.

Our first worship service at Mumena was at the Konkwa Church of Christ. All I can say is wow, over and over again, wow. These people are so amazing and our God is so good. This church began last September. From it s humble beginning to now 115 members strong. This church (its believers) are such an encouragement not only are they growing in number, but they are growing in faith. They have matured in such a way that several of the men desired to reach out and share what they have received from the Lord. They, while all the Americans were gone, went to another area and started teaching house to house about Jesus. This place, Kayonge, is now 35 members and growing. Just last weekend six men returned to spend the weekend teaching and preaching and at the Sunday worship they baptized 7 more into the body of Christ. The new Kayonge Church of Christ is now 42 members. Is this music to your ears, what rejoicing in heaven, to see and know that God is still, as He has always been, actively calling His own, the power of the gospel. Praise God. Pray for these two churches, the people, and the leadership.

Last Sunday we were asked to come and work with the church at Mutanda. This church of 24 members with 40 in attendance including the children has been struggling. This church was split over  one cup issues. The leaders have asked us to help them rebuild. Stacey and I will be working regularly with this church. Pray for this struggling church. Pray for God to direct us in our way, to renew in us a new spirit of truth, and then grant us strength and ability to share our faith with the surrounding villages of Mutanda.

Today we visited the Kampandi Church of Christ. This was the first church of Christ planted at Mumena in August of 2005 by Leonard Mujala a Zambian Missionary from Namwainga. This church had at one time 90 plus members. They are now only 28. We will begin a leadership seminar next Thursday for six days. We will discuss the orderly church, the purpose driven church, God s plan and God s design. We hope to reestablish the first love of this church and its members. We will set up teams to go out and visit, to set up bible studies with those who have fallen away. We will also begin house to house bible studies with the surrounding villages. Again, pray for this church.

As you can see, your fervent prayers are needed. Please take some of your time and ask God on our behalf to bless us, these churches, these people, this place.

We are praying for you.

Bart

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Davis Missionary Journey: Change?


As we sat with a handful of Angolan refugee brothers and sisters in their thatch and mud shelter - the remnant of this church after many had been repatriated to Angola - we remembered the vibrant past of this congregation with nostalgic sadness. Why can't things stay the same; why must change come?


In my "growth & results" Western culture, I sometimes fail to perceive what is going on around me through the eyes of Jesus. Jesus lived in a time of great change - certainly in a time that "ministerially" would not have been characterized as successful. But He saw the hand of God amidst the change - change as devastating as the destruction of earthly Jerusalem - and looked to the "Kingdom that cannot be shaken".


The dear remnant of the Road 1 church of Christ will soon cease to be a congregation as they face being returned to their homeland. But as they "offer service well-pleasing to God" - hopefully planting the church wherever they are placed - and bravely face the changes around them, they can "come to Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem". That sounds pretty successful!



"And this (word), Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain."
Hebrews 12:27 ASV (quotes taken from same chapter)


Congregations are born and congregations pass away, but our faith is in the reunion of "the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in Heaven"... which shall never pass away!



We will miss them,


Brian, Sondra, Noah, and Bryson



Pictured below: one of the remnant with his little brother at worship
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