Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: February 2008


Each week I go out to area villages "the new church plants" for bible studies. Tuesday at Sawanda, Wednesday at Mushingashi, and Thursday at Kambazhi. When I leave from Mumena "our house" driving to these bible studies . . . many young men have been riding along . . . for me these have been a blessing from God. You see . . . I do not speak the language, but God has always provided the interpreter. One day the interpreter says, "I need to be baptized. One day one of the riders says, "I want to be baptized", one day a few more, and another day two or three . . . and today . . . as we all were returning to the village of these people . . . Shimabila . . . one of the men asked . . . how many of us does it take to make a church. I asked him, "what is the church "? He said, "me".


And this is true . . . I Corinthians 12:12-14 . . . Colossians 1:18 . . . read it . . . it is true!


This day we counted all who had been riding and were baptized over the last month and to our surprise they are sixteen . . . we had not been counting.


Praise our great Savior . . . Jesus.


So these have decided they want to begin coming together in their village, Shimabila.


So with this . . . I introduce to you . . . the church of Christ at Shimabila.


Thy kingdom has come, Lord . . . and increasing . . . we thank You for the increase.


We will begin this Monday with Acts 2:38 thru 47 . . . the beginning of the church.


Pray for these and the future growth of the church.


Last Sunday, I sat in the back of the church and watched the powerful preaching of one of the new . . . "Zambian Evangelist . . . In Training" . . . from one of last year's new church plants. I am not sure what was most exciting: his zeal; knowing the change Jesus has made in his life; thinking he will continue teaching about this Jesus . . . in this place, long after I have gone; or was it the five who came forward to be baptized.


The answer is . . . all of the above . . . and again we thank God, Amen!


On our way to the water . . . a Zambian Evangelist from another preaching point, a new church plant as of last December . . . flagged us down, asking for a ride to the river. At this place three came asking to be baptized . . . eight new brothers and sisters in Christ!


I can not express the joy of seeing the power of the Gospel at work. I can not thank God enough for allowing even me to be a part of this work . . .


Thank you , Lord!


Bart Bruington
"In Awe . . . Servant"


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Give me that…


"Give me that…" said the pre-school teacher as she saw Rita putting up a nice tent. That was the final straw for Sondra. "You've been given more than anyone!" Sondra replied. "Continually asking for more and more is not right; so STOP asking!" The teacher looked confused. Later Sondra brought up the situation in the pre-school teachers weekly Bible study in order to explore the ethic of such behavior. With understanding dawning, the pre-school teachers informed Sondra that saying "Give me that…" concerning a certain object is the cultural expression of "complementing" that item, but there is no expectation of actually being given the item. Of course, if as a foreigner you fail to understand the communication intent and offer the item (thinking someone is really in need of it), no one here will be so foolish as to not accept it!


Understanding communication forms in the heart language of the people is not only key to communicating the Word of God to a people but is also key in evaluating a culture's ethics. Missionaries must evaluate ethics - among other things - in order to develop a teaching curriculum that will help in the transformation of a people's world-view from the former animistic way of understanding reality to understanding reality as God reveals it in His Word. As cultural "outsiders", we must develop trusting relationships with "insiders" who can guide us in this understanding. Sometimes, however, we feel as if we have fallen into the parable that Jesus taught (though hopefully for different reasons):


"Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?"
Luke 6:39 KJV


Beginning to see!
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


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Pictured: Davises in language / culture learning with the Kakoma family


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: A stepping stone to restoration


As we have gathered in ecumenical prayer groups for the safety of the Chieftaincy from demonic attack, a wonderful point of unity has emerged: all of the Mumena villages need to hear the Gospel so that they can choose to be "in Christ". For with the departing of evil spirits without the replacement by the Holy Spirit, a village's lot may become very much worse than before (Mt 12:43-45).


As all present (Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostal) pursued this idea, the aspirations for ecumenical Christianity seemed to fall far short of our Lord's prayer in John 17.


"That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me."
John 17:21 KJV


This was sadly pointed out to us by one of the pagans from the village so recently troubled by evil spirits as he noted, "What each of you is teaching about how to be safe in Christ differs from the others… Why?"


This has sparked an uncomfortable interest in whether the restoration of ourselves to the simple authoritative words of Jesus and His apostles as found in His New Testament may need to preface our efforts to the lost. For at least one, the astute pagan, is still waiting for his answer.


May he hear Christ,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, and Bryson


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Pictured: Mumena B Elementary School hosts an inter-denominational Bible study group seeking Jesus' will.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Of Demons & Mangoes


It was suggested that I go to the palace of the Chief. But the summons came in a round-about way; not at all normal. Something was up, and as foreigners, we weren't officially supposed to be allowed in "the know". In the meeting with Chief Mumena, I was strongly urged to arrange for study opportunities for the tribe concerning God's power verses "the powers" (Col. 2:15) Our team had already scheduled a seminar on this topic for April, but obviously our timetable wasn't sufficient to some need about which we still did not know. The next day, one of our gardeners asked me to attend an ecumenical prayer meeting called by the Chief. (Why was I just learning about this via our gardener?)


Finally, all became clear at the prayer meeting, the Chieftaincy was under demonic attack. A village was being plagued by disembodied spirits threatening to eat their children. The shocking thing, however, is that of the few thousand people claiming to follow Christ in a Chieftaincy of some 50,000 people, only 9 braved this prayer meeting… and only 6 showed up to go to the assistance of this village in the name of Jesus. How deep the fear that enslaves men's souls; how thin the veneer of Christianity for those who have more faith in Satan's power to destroy than Christ's power to save!


17 A man in the crowd answered, "Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not."
19 "O unbelieving generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me."
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. 22 "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
23 "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
24 Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. "You deaf and mute spirit," he said, "I command you, come out of him and never enter him again."
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, "He's dead." 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"
29 He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer."
Mark 9:17-29 NIV


Regardless of their understanding of the Bible, I couldn't help but have profound respect for these men who - facing mortal dread - placed their lives at the disposal of Jesus. As it turned out after we arrived at the village, the demons had already left - by the villagers account - saying that they wished to return to the forest in order to eat mangoes (much to our party's relief). Yet, I have found few villages as interested as this one in hearing of the safety in Christ offered by the Gospel!


Privileged to be allowed to serve on the "inside" once in a while,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


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Pictured: profound fear still rules the hearts of the majority of these precious people.


The Bruingtons Missionary Report: January 2008


A Religious People...


As one moves about in this place one will find and see... these "Kaondi" are a religious people... Acts 17:22.


In fact... in every place... in all nations... you can find a church... many different churches... many good people... worshipping God.


Various options exist in the form of worship: atmosphere; activities; doctrine; organization; entertainment ... choices, choices, choices...


We are asked, "Why so many?... Why so many options?... How does one choose?... Will God be pleased with any choice?"


I state the fact... one could spend a lifetime searching....exploring all forms of religion... and at the end of the day... still be confused... lost... with no hope.


God says, "Return to me"... Malachi 3:7... Looking to Jesus... Hebrews 12:2... Let us open our Bibles and learn from this Jesus.


He is the way, the truth, and the life... John 14:6... Of whom God said, I am well pleased... Listen to Him!... Matthew 17:5,6.


In John Chapter 2 when Jesus began... His teaching... His ministry... The first thing He did was to cleanse the temple!


Jesus spoke of vain worship... Matthew 3:17... In cleansing the temple... the stage was ready for those who would repent... Matthew 3:17... For the kingdom of heaven was at hand! This preparation still applies today... in this place... in every nation... where people come together to offer worship to God.


Jesus said, "Worship in truth and in spirit"... John 4:24.


In order to understand and receive the truth that Jesus commanded one must first clean the temple... Our body... I Corinthians 6:19,20 and Acts 20:28... The church... Colossians 1:18... This repentance is the cleansing of our temple... the cleansing of our mind... the cleansing of our heart... releasing the vain worship of the past... moving from the kingdom of darkness... Ephesians 4:18-24... to the kingdom of His beloved Son... Colossians 1:13,21, & 22 ... Holy and Clean.


When we have repented... swept from our minds all thoughts of religion and worship... when we have been washed ... I Corinthians 6:11... Hebrews 10:22... Revelations 7:14 and 22:14... we are made ready... by the blood of Jesus Christ to receive the truth... the kingdom.


In Acts 2:37... when the people cried... "What must we do?"... God wasted no time with this most important answer... Repent and be Baptized!


Those who received His word... Were baptized... And added by God that day... To the kingdom... The family of God... The church ... Acts 2:41-47!


This is the truth and these received the promised Holy Spirit... and then Jesus said, " Teach them to observe all that I have commanded"... Matthew 28:20.


I am amazed at the many who come asking to be taught, to learn about this new religion, about this new form of worship, this church.


I tell them... this is not new.


Jesus built this church... His church... two thousand years ago...


One man who is seventy-two years old... who repented... who was baptized... Into Christ... asked, "Why was I not taught this truth many years ago"... ????


I told him... this is why... One day with the Lord is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day...


God is not slow in His promises, He is patient... wanting all to repent and not perish... II Peter 3:8,9... Acts 17:30.


I told Dickson Sawanda... God was waiting for you!


Let us all... along with the Kaondi... consider this truth... repent... be baptized... and worship in truth and spirit.


Bart


Monday, February 4, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Decently and in Order


"Let all things be done decently and in order." (1 Corinthians 14:40 KJV) This seldom seems to depict our Sunday experience. Coming back home on a rainy day of worship, the mud road that we were travelling contributed to our vehicle battery being flung into the engine block thus shorting out our vehicle some 60 kilometers out in the bush. After Sondra and the boys set up their camping chairs and umbrellas to await rescue, I road on the back of a passing bicycle for 2 kilometers to where I was told I could get a cell phone signal. Upon arriving, I was shown three choices of ant hills - each some 20 feet high, steep, and covered with 6 foot tall elephant grass - where a signal might be found. It seemed to amuse the gathering locals as they watched me claw my way to the top of each ant hill and wave my cell phone in the air in hopes of making my call for help. Finally, while standing on my toes and holding my phone in the air at arm's length, I was able to call our team mates, the Bruingtons. Unable to lower my arm risking losing my signal, I had to yell up to the phone and trust that the message was heard. With visions of Elijah on the mount and wondering if anyone was listening, I returned to our vehicle. Not long after, Bart Bruington arrived to tow us to the safety of our home.


BrysonWaiting.jpg


Slightly out of order but very glad someone was listening on the cell phone… and up above,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


Pictured: Bryson awaiting rescue in a very decent fashion.