Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

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.