Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: March 2008

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This our third year in Africa... three months into the New Year... time marches on.

We just completed our fourth of six training seminars. These are done six months each year to develop the emerging Zambian leadership and teachers of the new church plants. The other six months of the year these people are busy preparing, planting, and harvesting... food.

This last seminar was opened to the general public and all religious leaders of the area villages. Chief Mumena requested we open this seminar to the public because of certain activities taking place... “demons were troubling certain villages”.

You see... in this place there are many unique traditions, customs, and beliefs... "witchcraft and juju".

We do not think about these things as they are not our custom, yet here where centuries of traditions and stories, handed down from generation to generation, many live in fear and then there are always those who take advantageous opportunity for gain and power.

This last seminar was titled “The powers vs the Power”. In this seminar we taught:

That Jesus has despoiled the powers of darkness (Colossians 1:11-14 and 2:16-23);

That Satan’s power has been limited by Christ and the cross; and there is a place of safety for those who are... in Christ... Roman 8:1... read chapter 8; 

How... ?... does one get into Christ... the safe place... Colossians 2:6-15... baptized into Christ.

We had 157 people attending this seminar and many individual bible studies have developed from this topic.

God is the power... it is God who created all things... it is God who holds them and us with His Word!

For those . . .  in Christ... we are safe! ... Amen!

As I said above six months of the year these people prepare the land... with their hands and a hoe...

ground is cleared, broken, and made ready for planting... with their hands they plant seed in the ground before the rains begin...

with their hands they weed and cultivate the field... with their hands they harvest the produce... food.

Each family will prepare one lima (half acre) for food. If they fail... they do not eat.

In the mornings (Monday thru Friday) we teach these people how to maximize their efforts.

We have held agriculture seminars and we are teaching how to utilize drip irrigation and how to develop a surplus in harvests to get ahead...

Most live each day with hope of finding enough food for the day to feed themselves... many days they will have nothing.

A few days ago... one of the men who began last season utilizing the techniques he had learned, came to the house... with three ears of maize (corn) in his hand... one for himself, one for his wife, and one for his daughter... he said, “I thank God everyday for the Mazungu” (the white missionaries)...

“They have taught me the truth of God”... “they have helped me... God and the missionaries... to have this food”.

He said, “last year my family was hungry... this year... we have food”. And he thanked God!

This is the love of God... this is Jesus... this is what we do... this is what we teach.

Satan is powerful and active in the world today we would be very foolish to ignore this truth...

One day... God will destroy the world because of Satan, sin, darkness... evil!

Before this... Jesus has promised to come to get us... those who are His... in Christ!

Bart

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Well Checking

One of the hardest situations our volunteers face as they come over to help for a couple of weeks is the inundation with requests for “something”.  Understanding the Hunter / Gatherer ethic of “well checking” really helps in this regard as Christ-like ethics are emerging within the community.  However, Americans have to unplug their cultural revulsion to “double dipping” in order to manage it.  “Well checking” goes something like this:

Upon waking-up each day and intending to provide for my family by hunting and gathering, I will give each of my children a bucket and tell them to go check the wells for water.  If a well is found to have water, then the child will fill every bucket available even though the family may only need one or two buckets for their daily needs.  After all, one never knows when the well will run dry.  If every child finds water in every well checked, then the family might find themselves with many buckets of water for which they will be very happy.  This is responsible and ethically right “double dipping”.

As missionary families living in a village setting, we often have people hunting and gathering the same commodity at each or our doors.  If the commodity is found at the first door, the search will go on at the other missionary doors, naturally.  If I find 3 or 4 of what I am looking for, won’t I be a happy person!  Our volunteers (and often we as missionaries) are appalled at this.  But the key to managing these feelings (without losing one’s own ethical composure) is to understand the Kaonde relationship with a water well.  When a Kaonde person finds a dry water well, no personal offense is taken when the well refuses to give water!  When I say “no” to a request (nicely… for there are no rude wells in Zambia), no offense is taken.

“A hungry man might steal to fill his stomach. If he is caught, he must pay seven times more than he stole. It might cost him everything he owns, but other people understand. They don't lose all their respect for him.”

Proverbs 6:30-31  (Holy Bible: Easy-to-Read Version, Revised Edition, copyright © 1987, 1999, 2005 World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved.)

So how do I ascertain true needs?  Ah yes, that’s another journey…
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

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Pictured:  our colleague, Douglas Siampongo, checking wells for water.  Though some have been dry, he has never been offended by one yet.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Joyful & Tired


Today we held our 2nd annual, chieftaincy wide "Back to the Bible" Restoration Seminar. This year's topics concerned "God's power versus the demonic powers" and "How to be in Christ: the safe place". We had no idea how many would come as the numbers were so low during the recent ecumenical prayer meeting that was called by the Chief on behalf of a nearby village afflicted with evil spirits… only 9 were in attendance. Nonetheless, Chief Mumena arranged his schedule to be one of our guest speakers and 150 showed up!


"…that no advantage may be gained over us by Satan: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11 ASV


Joyful and tired,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, and Bryson

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Pictured: Left - Chief Mumena pleading for Christ; Right- his subjects considering the words of the Bible.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Ethical Twister


Do you like the game "Twister"? If so, you should try the cultural ethics game of Twister. For example: in America, we have an ethic that says "Only ask for help if you can't help yourself.". In a Hunter / Gatherer culture like the Kaonde, this principle has a new twist. A man came to my house the other day after seeing our demonstration vegetable garden and asked for "free food". I told him that I don't have any "free food". To which he responded, "Then let me buy some food." My first response was, "If you could buy your food, why did you ask for free food?" (You can hear my cultural outrage as my ethical values were violated.) But the man looked at me after I asked that question as if I were an idiot. From a Hunter / Gatherer ethic, gathering something with the least expense of your resources is frugality and is responsible.


The rub comes when the Hunter / Gatherer system is being replaced by a cash economy. The same cultural ethic is used, but the economic ramifications have changed. One of the missionary's jobs is to help the culture interpret Christ's ethics and encourage them to apply them to their present cultural setting.


"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?"
Luke 12:57 KJV


Trying not to get too twisted up…
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


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Pictured: free food?


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Linguistic Languor


I was ready to use my new KiKaonde phrase that I had memorized, a greeting in the Lord. A visiting Kaonde evangelist was just the right audience. After greeting him, he looked a bit angry. Then he asked me, "Why did you greet me in the name of your dog?" Obviously something had gone terribly amiss.


"But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."
Colossians 3:8 KJV


Skating too close to blasphemy on that one,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson


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Pictured: Kambo = Lord; Kabwa = dog. That's important to know.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Davis Zambia News - February, 2008

Greetings to All,

            It doesn’t seem I have much to tell you this month.  We are still involved in teaching classes and language learning, when both we and our language helper have a free day.  Brian has also kept busy around the house doing repairs.  When you live in the bush it’s literally a daily task to keep everything running.  There are days when I think we should just live as our neighbors do.  When you don’t own anything mechanical nothing breaks!

            Noah is down to the last three weeks of school and he’s looking forward to the break.  I’m considering using the extra time to do some visiting with some of the ladies around here in order to improve my KiKaonde.  It’s been a very slow learning process.  Bryson just enjoys his freedom and tries not to kill himself while playing.  He is the one who is always falling, getting hit by flying objects, etc.  I suppose our big family news is we had 5 kittens born on Valentine’s Day.  We plan to keep one of them so of course we’ll name it Valentine….or, perhaps Valentino, if it’s a boy.  Right now they are still learning to walk and stay in the box but we look forward to the next month when they start coming out to play.  That’s the fun stage.  The other big news is that our dog no longer has any drive to get off the front porch.  As a male dog in the prime of life he was starting to be a menace to the neighborhood village.  He chased kids, snapped and barked at people, and tried to catch goats and chickens.  We decided he needed to see a vet to have him fixed and it worked.  Now he hardly gets off the porch, except at night.  I told you there wasn’t much news this month.

            The preschool program has had its ups and downs this past month.  I won’t go into all the details because it’s too long and complicated but last Monday two meetings were held in two villages in order to iron out the problems.  I was gone from 9 am until 5:45 p.m. It was a long day but I believe a profitable one.  We are still waiting to see the final results but I came home encouraged that the program would progress in a positive direction.  Thankfully Rachel, our intern, taught school for Noah that day and Brian cooked dinner.

            This month begins the church leadership seminars again.  They had been postponed during the rainy season.  While the rains aren’t finished yet it does seem to have slowed down.  We head to Lusaka at the end of the month.  Rachel flies back to the U.S. on the 24th.  We will spend the early part of the week shopping and doing a few family activities then we will attend a missionary retreat the last part of the week.  Thank you for the prayers and messages.  They sustain us on down days and lift us higher on good days.

Blessings,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson