Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love Letters (Culture) - God's Power to Save

Since I have been here, I have taught three lessons during Sunday morning church service. Each lesson was about serving God faithfully because he is the greatest King and greatest power. The Kaonde live in constant fear of their ancestors, evil spirits, and witchcraft. I have tried to teach that although any of those might kill us, only God can judge us and send us to hell (Matthew 10:28). God is more powerful than any other power and even Satan can only act with God's permission (Job 1-2). Beyond this, God loves us and gave Jesus life for us when we were still enemies (Romans 5:8). We serve God not only because He is the ultimate authority over all things, but even more, because He loves us and wants what is good for us. So, it is better to die in God's promise than to turn back to Satan's powers.

 

You will notice that I have not tried to teach that ancestors, evil spirits, and witchcraft are not real. First of all, Jesus himself talked to demons and Satan, so evil spirits are real. They have real powers and are able to harm if God allows it. Second, I cannot always discern the difference between Satan's power to harm or his lies. It is certainly possible that he is using a witch to accomplish his desires. Whatever power he has, he could use a witch as his puppet to demonstrate that power. So, I cannot always know whether witchcraft is just a lie or Satan is really acting through it.

 

For example, there is a witch who claims to be able to travel to New York on a flying carpet in 30 minutes. That is obviously a lie, there is no way a person can travel on a flying carpet that fast ksk-smile. However, when a person who has a real disease goes to a witch doctor and comes back cured, what has happened? Perhaps, it is all a trick. Or perhaps, that person has really been cured from a physical disease. The difference does not matter because in each case that person is being trapped by Satan's power or lies.

 

You might also notice that in the Old Testament, God did not always confront the fact that false gods are not really gods at all. When the Israelites were in Egypt he did not tell Moses to teach that the Egyptian gods were fake. Instead, he demonstrated his power over them. Each of the ten plagues is directly aimed at one of the Egyptian gods. The plague of darkness showed that God had authority over Ra. The death of the firstborn showed that God had authority over the Pharaoh himself (who was considered the embodiment of the gods). God didn't confront the fake gods with words, instead he confronted them with power. From the Israelites perspective God defeated all the other gods. He truly had all authority and was the Most High God, the only one deserving praise and worship.

 

Whatever the Kaonde understand about witchcraft and evil spirits, it is vital they understand that God is the ultimate authority and deserves our loyalty, no matter what God allows to happen to us. We will all die one way or another, but only God can forgive us and save us from hell.

Love Letters (News) - Living Well

For the past month and a half, Karen, Matthew, Lydia, and I have been learning how to live well as a family in Zambia. Everything is going well and we find living in Zambia is healthier and more enjoyable than living in an apartment in the states.

 

Our primary goal for our first year here is to learn. We want to learn how to live as a healthy family spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. We also want to learn the language (kiKaonde) and the Kaonde culture.

 

One of the nicest things about living here is our back yard. We share the yard with the Bruingtons who live in the other side of our duplex. Bart built a brick wall enclosing a yard about 200 by 150 feet. They had brought a trampoline over and this week he will finish constructing a jungle gym. The yard is safe place for Matthew and Lydia to play with little surveillance. For the first time since Matthew was born, the children are able to entertain themselves without constant supervision. The worst thing that has happened so far is that Matthew threw one of the cats at Lydia and gave her a small scratch. They both love playing in the yard and often have friends over to play (the Bruingtons, Davises, or a few Zambian children which we know).

 

Our home is quite nice. We have a small two bedroom duplex. However, because we have very little junk we now have more room than we have ever had. Also, Bart (who constructed our house) did not complete all the furnishings because he wanted us to decide what to do. So, I have built many items for the house to complete it how we like it:

  • Additional shelving for our closets in both bedrooms
  • Large bookshelf in our hallway
  • Shelving in the bathroom
  • Entertainment/work desk in the living room
  • Large medicine cabinet in the bathroom (in progress)

Our family has been very healthy. Matthew and Lydia both got a cold with a fever about 2 weeks after being here. This is normal when moving to a new location and most likely due to the dust (there is a lot of dust here). They both were over the cold in about a week and have been perfectly healthy since then. Karen and I have both been mostly well.

 

During June and July we have many American visitors here doing various projects (from water well drilling to medical). Since everybody eats together, we have been eating breakfast and supper with the group at the Davises. Brian is the official cook during this time and he has learned to make many excellent meals. The meals have all had a large variety of vegetables with meat about 2-3 times a week.  Obviously, we don't have fried fast food or microwave meals, so almost everything we eat is healthy. In fact, I have already lost 2 inches from my waist from the diet and active lifestyle.

 

The main benefit of the Americans here is the fellowship we have with them. There are four college age girls who are interns here for about 2 months. Karen has really enjoyed knowing them and they have helped Karen adjust to the culture gradually. The interns, Sondra Davis, and Rita Boyd have all been needed friends for Karen as her best friend Amy Cates and her sister Jana Johnston are back in Dallas. I spend a large amount of time with Bart, Don Boyd, or Brian Davis so I also have developed good friendships with them.

 

Language learning is going well. There are many Kaonde who are willing to help us learn kiKaonde. At this point we have been learning simple greetings and phrases with basic vocabulary. However, it doesn't take much work to impress the Kaonde. There are few white people willing to learn their language. A basic sentence like "I am learning kiKaonde" is sufficient to bring amazement to their faces.

 

In addition, I have been able to find many resources in kiKaonde to help with language learning. I have a modern Kaonde to English dictionary, a overview of kiKaonde grammer, and many children's books with pictures. Right now I am reading a book called "Bokwe Mfumu," the Lion King (not the Disney version).

 

As far as technical items, we are still waiting for my work permit and our truck. This is Africa. Both were supposed to be ready three weeks ago. Don Boyd and I have traveled to Lusaka (about 9 hour bus ride) twice in order to obtain them (he was also needing to renew his work permit). Both times neither the work permits or the vehicle have been ready as promised. (We had to physically travel to Lusaka because we have report orders for the work permits). I got my report order extended and hopefully by the time the truck is ready the work permit will also be ready. I plan to take Karen and the children with me next time we go. This will give Karen a break and we will go to a nice restaurant and see a movie while we are there. This should happen in the next few weeks as soon as Toyota tells us the vehicle is ready to pick up.

 

Continue praying for our family.

Rick

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Don & Rita Boyd Newsletter: June 2008

Greetings to all,

Just a short note to say how much we miss everyone and to say thanks to all those who have written to us since we came back to Zambia.  We are happy to be back with our family and our family in Christ.  The Churches here really seem to be growing Spiritually.  We have seen the Konkwa Church especially growing. Spiritually they are reaching out to other areas with the Gospel, trying to start new congregations and now that they have their own building, they have began to make benches for it.  We like the way they work together when there is something that needs to be done.  This past Thursday there were 17 in attendance at the Konkwa ladies Bible study.  Some of that number was our 4 Interns from Harding and ACU.  I am hoping they will want to teach the class some while they are here.  They are very glad to help where they are needed.

  

Don and Rick Love are planning another trip to the Capitol to try and get the Love's new truck and their work visas.  Their first trip a little over a week ago did not accomplish much, just got Rick's visitors visa.  Hopefully this trip will be more productive, because it is not cheap traveling in Zambia.  We know you are paying more for fuel in the States these days, but you are still behind what we have to pay at $8 a gallon.  Zambia is having a shortage of electricity country wide and that is causing shortages in many other things that have to be processed by electricity, so you can imagine the difficulty we have in getting things like fuel, sugar, bottle gas and cornmeal (which is the staple food for the Zambians).  We try to adjust to each situation, but sometimes it can be difficult.  We do realize how blessed we are to be able to help carry the Gospel to others and have our good health to continue in that.  We know that many of you are always in prayer for us and the work here and we thank you one and all.  We also pray for you and your part in this work, knowing it would not be possible without you.  May God richly bless you all.

 

Love, Don & Rita

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Davis Zambia News: May 2008

Hello All,

Sorry this newsletter is late.  We are currently hosting several people from the States and life has been a bit busy.  Our new teammates, Rick, Karen, Matthew, & Lydia Love, arrived about a month ago.  It’s nice to have more permanent workers on the field.  Rick and Karen were former interns of ours in Cape Town so it’s nice to see that they made the decision to return to Africa full-time.  They have been very patient as we’ve tried to help them settle in and also get ready for our big (American) summer work.  We currently have 7 visitors here but we’ve had several who have already come and gone and a whole lot more who have yet to arrive.  Each day we feed close to 20 people.  Brian is the chief cook as he has the organizational skills and is also an excellent cook.  I and my mother are his assistants.  I can’t begin to decide how much food you need to feed a large crowd but I do know how to do what I’m told, therefore, I make a good assistant.  Most of our cooking is being done outside on the charcoal brazier since gas is always in limited supply.  We have used the oven for baking.  I thought it would be a difficult task to feed that many while cooking outside but it’s not been bad.

 

Our well drilling group has already come and gone.  Due to the lateness of our container (I mentioned that last month) most of their supplies were somewhere between the Middle East and Zambia so they had to come up with creative ways to get their job done.  They were able to drill a couple of wells and I think the inconvenience of not having materials was a good lesson as to how life in Africa works.  Despite it all they were a positive and helpful group.  We also have had some agriculture and small business projects going on.  Some of the local people have attended seminars on drip irrigation gardening and others have learned how to make yogurt and start a small family business.  It’s now up to those people to use what they were taught to better the lives of their families.  Pray that they do so.

 

We’ve got four girl interns this year.  Two are from Harding and two are from ACU.  One of the ACU girls is going to marry Brian’s nephew in December so it’s been nice to get to know her.  The boys were especially excited to meet a new future cousin.  All four interns have done well to jump into whatever activity is going on.  I think today’s young women are a hardier group than when I was their age.  None of them seems to have a problem with living in the dorm with no running water or electricity.  I don’t think I would have been so excited about being in Africa if my internship had been like that.

 

Yesterday our container arrived and was unpacked.  It happened to coincide with a sports day being held at the school across the path from our house.  When the truck with the container rolled past, hordes of people ran to the storage area where it was to be unloaded.  Fortunately from past experience we were prepared for that and had the proper security in place.  Everyone was quickly turned back and eventually went back to their own activities.  The container was unloaded in about three hours and the truck left.  I was a happy mother when Brian came home with our two boxes of school curriculum plus an extra reading curriculum given by one of our church friends in Abilene.  Noah wasn’t so sure about it but after we opened the boxes and saw all the great books we’ll be reading this year he said it made him more anxious to start.  Bryson also joined in the fun and even though he’ll only be in kindergarten he wanted to hear all the great stories too.  I assured him that he wouldn’t be left out.  Now if we could just find time for school.  I had hoped to start this month, but I now realize that it won’t be possible until mid-July when our visitors have left and life settles down a bit.  I’m not even sure when I’ll find time to put the books on the shelf, let alone find time to organize, plan and teach.

 

I hope to write again at the end of the month but it may be sometime in July before I find the time.  Between now and then we’ll have another 40 or so people passing through holding several medical clinics in the area.  But more on that next month.

 

Blessings,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: May 2008

Last months report was negative . . . I know . . . I delayed most of May before sending it out. Many responded . . . Are you ok? . . . Truth is . . . I am not! 

My wife and family are state side spending quality time with the aging Grandma’s . . . and I am here in Africa a long long distance from the one’s I cherish most. After we complete this year’s Medical Mission the first week of July . . . I will return to my wife, my family, home for two months.

We will all “together” return to Mumena the end of August to continue our work here . . . teaching Jesus Christ.

So, fact is . . . I miss my wife . . . I miss my family.

As I sit here . . . another sleepless night . . . I think I am only in a very small way beginning to feel what God feels . . . loving with a great love . . . so great a love it is beyond our grandest of imagination, beyond the greatest love we have ever expressed  . . . separated from what He loves most because of our sin . . . Isaiah 59:2.

There are many negative truths in the bible. This righteous God who loves us . . . loves us enough to warn of immanent dangers . . . Matthew 7:15, 21-27 . . . that surround us in this place . . . He loves us enough that He . . . Philippians 2:4-15 . . . Left the splendor of heaven . . . And came to this place . . . Acts 26:15-18.

To save us . . . I Timothy 1:15 . . . From our sins.

We know he has returned to heaven . . . John 14:3 . . . He is now preparing a place for us. So that we may be with Him.

We know . . . II Peter 3:7-11 . . . He is not slack with His promise. He is patient in waiting . . . allowing one more day . . . to repent!  The negative truth is real and an assured promise of God . . . He will . . . destroy this world because of sin, Satan’s lies, Satan’s deception, because the way of man will become continually evil, turning from the truth of God . . . II Timothy 4:3, 4 . . . people will accumulate for themselves teachers (preachers) to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth . . . creating another Gospel, false religions, deceptions of Satan . . . lies! Satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy . . . and his number one source of deception is religion, yes Satan will use truths of the bible, the word of God, twist them as he did with Eve as he tried with Jesus . . . Matthew 4:3-11.

Now! Enough of this . . . negative truths are a reality . . . and we must therefore put on the full armor of God . . . Ephesians 6:10-18 . . . we must be “In Christ".

The safe place . . . for in Him there is no condemnation . . . Romans 8:1 . . . are you “In Christ”???

Galatians 3:27 . . . Baptized into Christ . . . The Holy Place of God!

Acts 2:38 tells us that it is in this place our sins are forgiven . . . Washed away . . .

I Corinthians 6:11 . . . By the blood of Jesus . . . Romans 6:3-7 . . . Free from sin!

No longer separated!

Together again . . . with this God who loves us . . . Halleluiah! . . . This is Good News!