Recent Posts from the Mumena Team

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Don & Rita Boyd Newsletter: July 31, 2008

Just a note to let you know how things are going over here. Last week Aaron Chilembe and I traveled to Muyashi. This is a large village located at the border of Chief Mumena and Chief Mutabo's area. We had requested a meeting with the village headman and was told to return on Wednesday. When we arrived he asked us to accompany him to Chief Mutabo's palace. The chief said he was wondering when we would come to his area and said he would be happy to give us permission to come to establish a preaching point there. We were accompanied by men from both Konkwa and Lunsala. Please keep this in your prayers as we seek to extend the borders of The Kingdom.

 

The Konkwa brethren continue to amaze me with their zeal to teach God's word to their neighbors. Last weekend six men from Konkwa spent the entire weekend teaching and encouraging the people at Lunsala. They brought their blankets and slept there. On Sunday, most of the Konkwa church Leaders were at Lunsala so Rita and I went to Konkwa to worship. It had been sometime since we had been there so it was uplifting to be with the Konkwa Congregation. There were 72 in attendance at Konkwa and 57 at Lunsala. We pray that both churches will continue to grow both physically and spiritually.

 

There has been a rumor spread that a lion has escaped from a game park near to Solwezi and has made it to Mumena. The trouble is when someone talks about it they have not seen it but have been told by someone else about it. It would be near to impossible to find anyone who has actually seen the lion. This is one of the biggest difficulties among the Kaonde and in fact all over the African continent. This is how rumors and falsehoods are easily spread. Superstition and ignorance are powerful tools Satan uses.

 

On Monday night our guard woke me at 11:30 PM and said, "the lion has come." He said he saw large eyes which turned from red to green. I went with him to the area and found the two donkeys that stay in the area where we live. There were no tracks and the donkey's were not alarmed so I was sure there was no lion. However, I helped him and another man make a through search before going back to bed. I did not want to make him feel foolish so I told him to keep a sharp eye and listen for animal noises. I went back to bed at about 1:00 AM. So ends the episode of the "Great White Hunter."

 

May God continue to bless all of you as you serve,

Don & Rita

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don & Rita Boyd Newsletter: July 29, 2008

Greetings to All,

We want to keep you abreast of what is happening in our lives and our ministry.  We finished the campaign, which was a success in all the fields of agriculture, education, well drilling, medical and evangelism.  The last of the Americans returned home the middle of July.  There were 13 new souls added to the Kingdom and one new preaching point started as a result of the campaign, so we all feel that it was worthwhile.  It was good to have some familiar faces return from earlier campaigns and to make some new friends with first timers. 

We have enjoyed some new members of our team who have arrived this year.  The Love family, Rick, Karen, Matthew (who turned 3 today) and Lydia, who is about 18 mo. all arrived in May and Phil Sullivan who arrived in June.  Phil's wife Paula was not able to come with him at this time due to the illness of her mother.  Phil & Paula have plans to spend six months here and six months in the States.  We are not sure at this time how long they plan to do this.  Our team members, the Bruingtons, are in the States at present, but plan to return the end of August.  It will be good to have the whole team together for the first time when they return. 

Our ministry is going well, everyone is involved in studies one place or another and Sondra is busy teaching Noah and Bryson.  Noah is third grade and Bryson is kindergarten.  They both seem to be doing well and enjoying their studies thus far.  I, Rita have resumed the ladies Bible study at Konkwa, which seems to be going well and I plan to start another study here at home with the two ladies that work in our home and the ladies here in our immediate neighborhood.  This study will start the first Tuesday in August, Lord willing.  At present Don has 3 weekly Bible studies besides the Sunday worship time.  He has been ask to start a new study in a new area and Lord willing that will begin soon.  As you can see the Lord is truly blessing this ministry and partly due to all of your prayers and words of encouragement, please keep them coming.

We had one sad event during our campaign, at least it was to some of us.  We had just gotten a new puppy the 5th of May(our dog Patches had to be put down while we were in the States because he started biting people) and on the 4th of July the puppy was ran over by one of our trucks and her back was broken, so she had to be put down also.  I guess it is not meant for us to have a dog.  We still have our 2 cats and a baby goat (kid) was born the 13th of July.  It is all black except a bit of white on the ears and nose.  The boys have named him OREO.  He is cute and the boys really like him.  It is great to see the boys growing up here and having such good experiences, times that will last them a lifetime.  We thank God that our family is together and that He is blessing us in so many ways.  We also thank God for all of you and what you mean to our lives.  Please continue your prayers and letters of encouragement and you are in our prayers also.

Love in Christ,

Don & Rita

Monday, July 28, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Of Syncretism & Transformation

“We gave them what they needed! We taught them how to use it! Why didn’t it change their poverty?!”

This is often the initial frustration our development volunteers experience with their holistic efforts to help the Kaonde overcome poverty. Actually, it is a good place to come to as the understanding of change agents must be deeper than just resources and information. I used to experience this in the Inner City church plants with starving drug addicts. I could give them a dollar for food and tell them which shops had the best prices, but I just ended up buying that addict more drugs.

Syncretism is the adoption of “Christian” forms without the transformation of the inner man. This has been the norm here among the Kaonde for over 100 years. Their loyalty is to the ancestors, but most everyone “goes to church” on Sunday. Thus witchcraft, fatalism, and ignorance robs these people of their ability to steward God’s gifts. Transformation seeks to address the conversion and the sanctification of the inner person so that resources and information can be used responsibly. This is a process that takes time, but there are no short-cuts.

This year, after three years of trying different holistic poverty alleviating techniques, some of our development volunteers are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. As church planting – from the beginnings of our work - has challenged the way people are in their inner person, responsible uses of resources and information are now emerging. And our campaigners are now able to see the beginning fruits of their labors. One of the most exciting things from this year’s campaigns has been the beginning of a discussion by our campaigners on how to involve many volunteers in the transformational teaching process that must proceed responsible stewardship of development initiatives. As this conversation unfolds, I hope to write more “Journeys” about it.

As usual, Christ is WAY OUT IN FRONT of us. His sermon on the mount demonstrates this transformational teaching process as He moves from the inner person principles of the beatitudes to the practical behavior applications later in His sermon.

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”

Matthew 15:18 KJV

In Him,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

WellDrilling

Pictured: Well Drilling volunteers discovering sustainable clean water systems to be stewarded by trustworthy brethren who are beginning to see Jesus as the creator and Lord of their water. Previously, the members of this church gathered their water from an open seepage pit where the cows and goats were watered. The resulting constant disease robbed the brethren of their ability to study and understand the Word, let alone participate in the evangelism of others. Now they are doing both!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Davis Zambia News: July 2008

Hi there,

Here we are on the other side of our campaigns and now I’ve got time to write another newsletter. I did mention back in May that you may not hear from us until July. Remember? As usual we had a very busy, but productive three months. There were four medical clinics held, which saw many people. But the best part is we have a new preaching point because of the work. In the village of Kyangozhi there were a few baptisms so they are now beginning to meet together on Sundays and also have a weekly Bible study with Brian on Wednesdays. At present, there are about 10 people who attend but we hope to see that number increase as time goes by. Please keep them in your prayers.

Another big prayer request is for the Musole family, who are members of the Kananga congregation. This is a very new church plant and most there are very new Christians. The Musoles came from another congregation far away because of a job opportunity in the copper mine. About three weeks ago their 13 year old daughter went to buy tomatoes in the market and she never returned. The family is obviously suffering greatly from her absence. The police won’t help search for her and their family and neighbors are pressuring them to seek answers from the local diviner. Thus far we believe they have resisted. Even though Americans can’t fully understand it, the temptation is great for them to resort to such satanic devices because their culture is so blinded by his sneaky ways. Since this congregation is so young, falling to this temptation could destroy this new church plant. Please join us in earnest prayer for the Musole family and the Kananga congregation. Pray the child will be safely returned and pray for the spiritual strength of the family and congregation. They need to rely on Jesus as their strength, protector, and provider.

The biggest push forward from our recent development volunteers was in agriculture. Cleddy Varner spent about 9 weeks here developing a plan to teach the Kaonde better farming techniques year round all the while keeping it something that the Kaonde people can reproduce and continue long after the missionaries are gone. The program has just begun and there is a lot of upfront work to be done but the ideas have real promise.

Our four female interns were a joy to have around this year. They were good about going out on their own to visit with people and learn the Kaonde language and culture. They had missions and theology classes with Brian a couple mornings a week and then they were out in the afternoons. One week, after discovering that our boys had never been to VBS, they taught our boys Bible lessons and had crafts and games for them. It was fun to look out on the back porch and watch the interaction. After two months of so much time spent together talking, playing, reading, etc. the boys really hated to see the girls leave. These times with Americans are good for our boys to learn and identify with a culture that is supposed to their theirs and yet one they have never lived in.

Noah, Bryson, and I started school two weeks ago. It’s been an adjustment for all of us to have two grades going on simultaneously but I think we’re doing pretty well. Bryson is in kindergarten and has school with us for about 2½ hrs where he and Noah study Bible and history together, as well as share story time, music appreciation, and critical thinking skills. Bryson also is learning to read and has math activities during that time. After Bryson has finished for the morning, Noah, who is in third grade, takes a small break and then returns for science, spelling, language arts, math, reading, and handwriting. They’ve both worked hard the past two weeks and it looks like it will be a good year for all of us.

One last thing before I go. We want to send out a big thank you to everyone who came over during May, June, and July. We appreciate all the hard work you put in to help the church planting efforts among the Kaonde people. We saw some good things happen while you were here and now we will continue on.

That’s all for this month. Until next time….

Blessings,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

Friday, July 25, 2008

Love Letters (Missions): Church Planting -> Development (Understanding the Team Strategy, Part 1)

As a missionary team, we need a strategy which we all can agree in order to work together well. Our team strategy has been developed over the past few years through discussions with our supporting churches and with the experience gained here at Mumena. In a normal schedule, we have weekly team meetings to train and improve ourselves as a team. The knowledge gained from these meetings slowly molds our strategy. Ideally, this will make us more effective as we partner with God.

 

Brian Davis, who has been the organizer and academic mind for the team has created a presentation which can communicate the team strategy. He has also written many posts on the team strategy which you can read here (look near the bottom).

 

In the next few weeks, I (Rick) will try to point out some important concepts from the Team Strategy. Since I have just arrived a few months ago, I am also in the process of learning the team strategy. I will try to share what I learn with you who are interested in understanding our strategy.

Don’t get the cart before the horse... or oxen.

CartBeforeHorse

 


Productive Christian development must follow the transformation of the heart that comes by church planting.

 

 

Another words, church planting must come before development. If a person's heart has not turned to God, they lack the foundation to build a better life. Most of their problems are caused by sin or irresponsibility. God is the only one who can solve this and give them the strength to change.

 

Some examples:

A meth addict is trapped by his addiction. This is one form of sin. If you give him a dollar, he will use it to buy drugs. If you try to teach him a skill, he will never use it because he will be wasted most of the time. If you teach him personal hygiene, his teeth will still rot out because of the meth. The problem is sin, and the person needs help from God to overcome his addiction. Until, he starts to overcome his addiction, you will not be able to help him. After he begins to transform his heart to God, then you will make progress. He will trust God to give him strength whenever he is pulled by the addiction. You can begin to teach him positive values for his life. He can develop a purpose for his life. He can learn new skills which will improve his life. He can even use his new skills to help others. He will transform into a person who serves God in everything. None of this will happen until he transforms his heart towards God.

 

This same concept applies to the Kaonde. Many of their problems are caused by sin:

 

Drunkenness

Many men waste whatever money they make buying beer. They may have a good job, but their families are hungry because instead of buying food they get drunk. We cannot help them until they turn to God and begin to transform.

Many people who were drunks have become Christians and are now doing well. Their families are happy, they are better workers, and they are capable of helping others. Now they are able and open to improving their lives.

 

Greed

Among the Kaonde greed will destroy families. This happens when a man moves to the city to get a better job and leaves his family behind. There in the city, he starts to make more money. He may begin by sending the money back to his family. However, he soon begins to follow other desires. He is away from his family and support. He may begin drinking to overcome his loneliness. He may get a mistress or hire a prostitute to satisfy his sexual desires. His life will begin spiraling out of control as his family falls apart and suffers at home.

When a person dedicates themselves to God, they also learn the value of family. Instead of following greed, they begin to plan and think what is best for their family. They see what has happened to families when the man has moved to the city for work. Instead, they can decide that it is more important to stay close to their families than to make more money. Also, he begins to find appropriate ways to improve his family's well being. He will provide better food and shelter for his family, support his children's education, and listen to other ways to improve their life.

 

Sexual Sin

Sleeping around is very dangerous for our bodies, minds, emotions, and souls. However, it is common among the Kaonde. AIDS has wiped out almost an entire generation. The problem is more widespread in the cities, but men who visit the cities can bring AIDS home to their wives. Also, when the man is gone, the family is falling apart, and the wife and children are starving at home, she will exchange favors (prostitute herself) to a man who might take care of her for a short while.

God teaches us to love him with our bodies as well as our hearts. When a person dedicates their bodies to God and remains pure, they will avoid the pains of sexual sin. Husband and wife can dedicate themselves to each other and lead an example for their children. Young people can remain pure and find a spouse who will do the same. Marriages will be strong and the husband and wife will love each other. In this situation, the family will care for itself and the community and help bring change to others through example. They will listen to development efforts and understand how they can improve their lives.

 

 

Sin is not the only cause for poverty, but it is one of the major causes. When a person turns from sin and dedicates themselves to God, they now have a strong foundation for improving their lives in every way. This is how transformation begins with the heart, and then leads to transformation of the whole person.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Love Letters (Culture): Appropriate Teaching, Part 2

In my last post about appropriate teaching, I emphasized that simply reading and explaining the Bible is a great way to teach the Kaonde. I had a friend from the states, Aaron Brown, ask whether the following are also valid goals:

 

A. Encourage people to care about the message

B. Illustrate how to live it out

C. Harmonize/systematize with other scriptures

 

I think these are all valid uses of God's word. Paul pointed out to Timothy, scripture is useful in many different ways to teach and train us so that we are equipped for good work (2 Tim 3:16).

 

However, the three goals mentioned have different priorities according to the situation. For example, in the states among educated people, A. is a primary goal. The teacher is often trying to motivate an audience who is already familiar with the story and has already thought about its application to their lives. That is a difficult task.

 

However, among the Kaonde, the people already care about the message. (Not in a "warm fuzzy" way, but rather in a "how can I use this power to my advantage" way).

 

B. is more of a primary goal here. This is especially true because the people have been living with duplicity for years. On the surface they consider themselves Christians, but in the shadows they are loyal to their ancestors and live to manipulate the spirit world.

 

C. doesn't really apply here. The people don't know enough of the scripture to harmonize anything. Any jumping from verse to verse simply leads to confusion and gives the impression that the Bible is complicated and hard to understand. Also, the Kaonde are not systematic thinkers. On the contrary, their understanding is based on rote memorization for specific situations. They have never developed the ability to reason. In fact, the question "Why?" is almost impossible to translate into Kaonde and nobody can understand it.

 

In my opinion, this is the biggest cross cultural barrier: Going from a culture with a concept like "Question everything" to a culture that blindly accepts anything.

 

This is why it is vital that we teach only what the Bible teaches. The Kaonde do not have the capacity to say, "Well, Rick was just sharing his opinion about this passage, the Bible doesn't necessarily mean that."

 

Imagine trying to teach the book of Revelation in this context. I know that anything I say about Revelation might be taken as God's word. However, God has not given me the authority to add my own understanding to His word. In fact, Revelation contains a dire warning against adding any words to the book (Revelation 22:18).

 

So, in order to teach Revelation here, I must not teach my own understanding or interpretation. If the book makes a plain statement, I can explain that plain statement. For example, Revelation 21 teaches that God will be right among his people. We will all have direct access to Him and He will even wipe each tear from our eyes. Awesome! I can explain that and teach it to the Kaonde in a way that is meaningful to them.

 

However, where Revelation speaks in poetic and mysterious language (apocalyptic writing), I can't change this. I can't make a timeline out of it, tie it to historical figures (like Nero, Hitler, or the Pope), or do anything else to remove the mystery. John wrote it like that for a reason. I don't think he was just trying to send a coded message. I think he was trying his best to communicate heavenly/spiritual events that are beyond human understanding. He used mysterious language to communicate mysterious events.

 

This is a good example where I cannot change the biblical message or the language used to communicate it. If I ever do have an opportunity to teach this book to the Kaonde, I will start by saying this: "Don't try to figure everything out, just listen and take this to heart. And forget about questions, I don't have answers." Then I will read it and make the main point clear: "You better be on God's side!" I think the Kaonde will agree. In fact, I think they will understand the demonstration of God's power better than we Americans do.

 

Anyway, I think this example illustrates the difficulty in trying to communicate accurately to the Kaonde. But, I think there is a great reward if we learn how to communicate the written Word instead of our own interpretations and opinions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Love Letters (Missions): Appropriate Attitudes

As representatives of God among the Kaonde, we missionaries must be careful to have appropriate attitudes concerning our work.

 

Attitudes to avoid:

  • Egocentric: Thinking that only I am right
  • Ethnocentric: Thinking that only my culture and way of thinking is right
  • Methnocentric: Thinking that only my methods are right

The main problem is that once we make a decision, we feel a sense of loyalty to that decision. This is apparent in any argument. Once, a person chooses sides, he refuses to change. In the same way, once we find something that seemingly works, we have a tendency to reject and even criticize all other options. This even applies to our understanding of the bible. Often, once we have "figured out" what a biblical passage means, then we no longer see the actual passage but see only our own interpretation.

 

This attitude can destroy us. It is arrogance. We impress ourselves with how right we are. However, we are actually just blinding ourselves to our own foolishness. The fact is, we don't know much, but we follow the One who does.

 

Jesus is our Lord/King/Master/Teacher. He lived the greatest example for us to follow. So we try our best to follow Him.

 

In this light, we have the following tasks:

  • Constantly learn from Jesus by reading and studying God's word
  • Evaluate our own attitudes, actions, and teachings against Jesus
  • Admit the mistakes in what we think, what we do, and what we teach
  • Adjust our methods and teachings to avoid the mistakes
  • Trust God to work through us despite our imperfections

We must constantly consider what God teaches us about our situation. We must also teach the Kaonde as effectively as possible, so that they too will follow God in every way. We must do what is right and what works well.

 

Jesus brings us back to the simple commandments: Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Also, love your neighbor as yourself.

 

If we as Christians, will focus on these commands, we will be much more successful at following the rest of God's word.

 

If we as missionaries, will live these commands, God will partner with us and make the work successful.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: 1 Supper & an Oreo

Finding the food to feed from 20 to 40 campaigners for two months can be a bit daunting after one’s main grocery store burns down.  We began scavenging about 3 months before their arrival… especially for meat.  As the propane gas shortage prevented us from using our freezer, the meat had to be “on the hoof” for the most part.  Noah and Bryson usually take on the livestock as their personal project.  As they are taking on a “farming” ethic, this year they decided to name two of the goats “Lunch” and “Supper”.  While preparing to slaughter Supper, the boys discovered that she was pregnant and thus granted her a stay of execution.  They had to serve Lunch for supper that night, but our campaigners didn’t notice the discrepancy.  Last Sunday, Supper had her baby, a little black and white male, and the boys decided to name it after a delicacy that the campaigners had brought with them for desert… Oreo.

 

Wondering whether or not to serve Supper for lunch next year and certain that Oreo would not make a good desert,
Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

GoatOreo

Pictured:  Noah and Bryson with Supper and Oreo

 

“And if his offering be a goat, then he shall offer it before the Lord.”
Leviticus 3:12  KJV

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Website News: Catching Up

Today, I (Rick Love) was able to sit down and catch up on the website entries from the Davises, Boyds, and Bruingtons that I was not able to put online from the past few months. If you remember, my computer was lost at the beginning of May, so I am finally getting back up to speed.

 

Anyway, today, I will be adding some news to the website from past months. As you read, remember that some of this is old news.

 

Thank you for remembering God's work at Mumena,

Rick

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Love Letters (News): Getting Settled

Last week we went to Lusaka (the capitol city) to get our truck and work permit. We got out truck on Wednesday and my work permit on Thursday. We spent the rest of the time shopping for groceries and other items which we cannot purchase in Solwezi.

 

The trip was enjoyable and relaxing. The Baptist Guest House where we stayed in Lusaka had babysitting available. So, Karen and I went on a date with each other. We went to see a movie, "Hancock," in a theatre that is nicer than many in the States. Also, during the week, we took the children to see "Kung Fu Panda" and ate some American style fast food like Subway and hamburgers at Steers.

 

We traveled back to Mumena on Friday and have been trying to organize since. During the summer, there have been about 30 Americans visit doing various campaigns. They left while we were gone and when we came home, we found that our table was pilled with left over food and supplies. Those in combination with the items that we purchased have filled our cabinets and all our storage room. This is a blessing to have so much that we won't have to worry about rationing anything for a few months. However, we are considering options on where to add more storage.

 

Everything is getting settled are we are enjoying are home at Mumena. Before Bart Bruington left for the States, he began constructing a jungle gym for the children in the back yard. It is finished now with two swings, a baby swing, monkey bars, a tower and a slide. The ground under the slide and the tower is covered in 8 inches of white sand to make a soft landing in case any of the children fall. Also, this week we have been building a thatch roof over the whole area to provide shade. With this, a trampoline, and many toys, the children have a great back yard where they can play safely.

 

The children are both continuing to learn much. Lydia is beginning to say more words than "ball," so we are teaching her how to say more words. Matthew has shown interest in words, so he is learning the sounds of English letters and beginning to learn how to read a few simple words. We try not to push him, but if he enjoys learning, there is no reason to hold back.

 

Continue to pray for our family as we serve the Kaonde people.

 

In Him,

Rick, Karen, Matthew, & Lydia

Don & Rita Boyd Newsletter: July 2008

Most of the campaigners have left with only two remaining.  This last two months have been fruitful but sometimes challenging.  With forty or more people here it is difficult to keep everything at a normal pace.  However, we maintained our normal studies and the Lunsala and Konkwa congregations have continued to grow.  The gospel is powerful and lost souls continue to respond to it.  Tomorrow I am going to challenge more with a lesson about their "World View."  Lord willing it will at least cause them to think about their decision to either follow the Lord or the witch doctors and Satan.


BaptismJacksonMpamvuThe "Mudala" (old man) pictured in his baptism is Jackson Mpamvu.  He has been attending our Lord's Day service for some weeks and he made the decision to be baptized.  When I explained that he is doing what all members of the Lord's Church have done since the Church was established he had the biggest smile.  This is what it is all about, one soul at a time.

 

Today Aaron Chilembe and I visited a large village some 20 kilometers from Lunsala.  Some ladies from Muyashi asked us to come and preach at their village.  We went today to visit the headman but could only find his assistant.  He said we should come back on Wednesday and the headman would give us his okay to preach in his village.  We expect several people to be there.  Lord willing, in the near future there will be another congregation in our area.

 

Rita and I are grateful for your prayers and for allowing us to be here doing what we like to do.  We pray that God will continue to bless you as you labor.
In His Name, Don & Rita

Friday, July 18, 2008

Love Letters (Culture): Appropriate Teaching

As I teach, I want to show others how to teach. Therefore, my lessons must be simple. I cannot produce lessons that appear to take days to prepare. In fact, I shouldn't be trying to "produce" lessons at all.

 

God knew what he was doing when he inspired His Word. Not just the message, but also the form of the message was given so that we can learn. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are stories about Jesus life. They tell the history of Jesus' birth through resurrection. This is a wonderful form that helps people relate to Jesus as if they were following Jesus like the apostles. Other books have different forms that are appropriate to teach the message. Each book is a beautifully crafted work that teaches us something about God and our relationship with Him.

 

Therefore, I want to let God speak to the Kaonde through His word. I don't need to re-write what God has created. My duty is to convey that message cross-culturally. I am here to help explain to the Kaonde what was written to the Jews or Gentiles of the 1st century. Therefore, most of my time should be spent trying to understand the Kaonde culture and determine how to communicate in a way that makes the biblical message clear to them.

 

I believe, the most appropriate lesson for the Kaonde is simply reading the Bible and simplifying or pointing out specific points. Today, I began a study about Jesus through the Book of Matthew. I simply read and summarized Matthew chapters 1-3 and the villagers said I was a great teacher. I had nothing to do with it, they were amazed by the message. Very few Kaonde have read the Bible, so everything is new to them. By simply reading and explaining the message, it is a wonderful teaching for them. I told them that I was simply reading the Bible and that any of them can do the same thing with their family and neighbors. I was trying my best to model how they can evangelize themselves.

 

Hopefully, they will see the example and share the story of Jesus with others. Many of them have Bibles, so as long as they can read or memorize what is read, they can share the message with their family and neighbors.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Love Letters (Missions): Not Too Poor to Serve God

What will happen after we leave?

Will those we are now teaching continue to teach others after we are gone?

 

Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples (of him) and teach them to obey everything he has taught us. He has taught us to go and teach others. If we fail to teach others who will in turn continue to teach others, then we have failed this task.

 

One false concept that we must always battle is that the Muzungus (foreign white people) are the only ones who can teach. If we are not careful, we could give the impression that there are requirements to become a teacher or to spread God's word.

 

False Requirements to Become a Teacher:

  • Own a vehicle
  • Own a bike
  • Have a nice house
  • Be American
  • Be white
  • Be selected by Americans
  • Be supported by Americans

If the Kaonde come to believe any of these, then we have severely injured God's work. I believe we will answer to God for that. Therefore, we must do everything possible to avoid teaching these false requirements.

 

Right now, I believe we are doing a great job working against these concepts. Many Kaonde have become teachers and are going out to their neighbors to teach them as well. For example, Konkwa church (about 2 years old) sends someone to Mushingashi church (less than a year old) each Sunday in order to teach them. In order to do this, the teacher needs a bike (it is a 45 minute bike ride or a 4 hour walk).

 

A mistake we could make is trying to provide a bike for this teacher. That would be equivalent to saying, "You are too poor to buy a bike, so we must give you one." Sadly, some Americans have this attitude toward the "third world." However, the fact is, that many of the Kaonde live in nice houses with iron sheets. Their iron sheets cost more than a bike. Many people have bikes that they have purchased themselves. By giving them something they can provide for themselves, we are teaching them that they are too poor to serve God without us.

 

"You are too poor to serve God without me." That is a lie that will destroy God's work. We Americans have a dangerous pride that we are the only ones who can save the world. God is the only one who can save the world and he doesn't need us to do it. Historically, the poorest Christians have been the most fruitful.

 

Here are a list of things that the Kaonde can and should provide/accomplish themselves:

  • Transportation to church service and Bible studies
  • Communion supplies (fruit of the vine & unleavened bread)
  • Bible for each member (who can read)
  • Song books (or better they can just create songs appropriate to their culture like the early church did without a song book of European songs)
  • Feeding their neighbors who are hungry
  • Caring for the widows and orphans of the church
  • Keeping God's family dry during the rainy season (building some shelter to meet in as the church family)
  • Teaching their neighbors who have never heard God's word
  • Anything else that God requires from them (God will not require something they cannot themselves provide)

We cannot and should not do these for them. These are duties that God has asked them to do. Instead, we must teach them that they are rich in God's kingdom. He has given them, his children, everything required to do His work. In our teaching and our examples, we must help them to know that they are indeed rich and capable.

 

Therefore, as an example, I will be walking to a Bible study today that is about 3 kilometers away. I could easily get in my truck and drive there in 5 minutes. However, I want to show that even without a vehicle, anyone can still teach God's word to others. It may seem like a waste of time, but by walking for 30 minutes I may be teaching a more important lesson than anything I could teach in 2 hours.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Davis Missionary Journey: Are the campaigns worth it?

This year we will have had 7 major efforts back to back during our campaign season:
  • Well Drilling Development Campaign
  • Micro-Loan & Small Business Development Research Trip
  • Agricultural Development Campaign
  • Education Development Campaign
  • Health Development Campaign
  • Evangelism Campaign
  • Christian University Missions Internship

Though each event has offered its efforts in the name of Jesus and infused with His teachings, one campaigner still asked me, “Is it worth it?  After all, the missionaries have to focus primarily on servicing the logistical needs of the campaigners during these 10 weeks.” 

 

My experience with campaigns began with the “Treasure of Truth Campaigns” as I had the privilege to serve in them from 1985 to 2000.  And I still remember the theological grounding concerning the “worth” of campaigns from such missions teachers as Dr. Joe D. Gray, John Payne, and Ancil Jenkins, the campaign leaders:   

“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.”

Luke 10:1-3  NIV

 

The “worth” of campaigns is measured in the multiplication of the Spirit filled hands of Jesus as Christians participate together in His Great Commission.  It was our Lord who first chose to use this method.  As He hints in His last phrase, He is under no delusion of the difficulties inherent in this method, but it’s worth is divinely assured!

 

Exhausted but truly thankful for each campaigner who offered his or her hands to the work of Jesus among the Kaonde,

Brian, Sondra, Noah, & Bryson

CampaignLine

Pictured:  Kaonde lined-up for physical and spiritual help from our campaigners.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Bruingtons Missionary Report: June 2008

Have you ever wanted something . . . have you ever set your sights on getting that something . . . have you fervently prayed for something . . . today . . . the something I have wanted, the something I have been praying for . . . was granted . . . by God!

 

Over a year ago I met a man . . . respected in the community . . . a man of strength and a man successful in his business . . . a man whose family is a reflection of his dignity.

 

This is a good man. I had been watching him for several months and I grew to respect him myself. When the opportunity was provided for us to meet . . . within minutes one could sense his commanding presence . . . I thought . . . this man could be a great man of God. So I asked . . . what he thought about God . . . he said, “I believe”. I asked him how he worshiped God . . . he said, “I do not go to church” . . . I asked why?

 

He said, why go to a place where most of these people drink with me on Saturday and then go on Sunday to church. Why, when many of these people lie, cheat, steal, and commit all manner of sin every day, yet faithfully go to a church on Sunday . . . Why?

 

I told him . . . it is most unfortunate the countless people . . . who worship in vain: Deceived by the lies of Satan and Ignorant of the truth of Jesus . . . yet, will set in a church every Sunday . . . and not know God . . . this is Satan’s greatest work . . . false religion and worship that is in vain . . . Satan does not want us to acknowledge . . . truth!

 

For one year . . . I have been asking Stanley to come to the bible studies. Yet, he had never come . . . he is a busy man . . . aren’t we all!. Finally, I realized . . . I must go to him . . . so for several months . . . I have been trying to see him at his village, but each time . . . he was in his fields, in town on business . . . working. Then he came to me and asked why I had been coming to his village . . . I said, “God is calling you Stanley . . . and I am the one God is sending for you to hear His message of truth . . . Jesus.  I will come to teach you at your village . . . at your home." He agreed!

 

We started four weeks ago . . . we opened the bible . . . God’s Word . . . the same Word that created all things. We learned about God and His kingdom. We learned about how God created us . . . in His image. We learned about Satan, sin, and the separation between God and man . . . when we choose to sin. We learned of God’s greatest work to bring sinful man back to Himself . . . by His power . . . His grace . . . through His Son!

 

We learned about this Jesus . . . the Son of the Living God and how He came to save us from our sin. We learned about the “Greatest Event . . . of all eternity . . . the Gospel”.

 

Today . . . the greatest miracle of God . . .“baptism” . . . where our sins are washed by the blood of Jesus and by the power of God a child of God is born.  This is God’s “Holy Place” . . . in the water . . . through faith . . . to those who believe!

 

Stanley Lombanya . . . is now my brother and fellow servant . . . in the Kingdom of God.

 

Let us all celebrate . . . what was lost . . . is now found . . . Amen!

Bart