Fellowship along the Zambezi River

One day we were invited to attend a bible study that one of the Zambian team members from Love’s Door hosts every Thursday afternoon in the village of Siemate. I had the honor of attending a couple times during my visit because my good friend Mama Hildah lives in that village. I loved getting extra time to fellowship with her and meet her friends and family that are a part of the study. It’s a quaint group of about ten villagers sitting under the big tree in the middle of their village. A couple boys sitting on rocks, some women on the ground with their babies napping on their laps and some girls braiding each others hair as they listen to the message. The man sharing spoke good English so I remember him translating the message from the local language into English for us who were visiting. It took twice as long though, as he had to say every sentence twice. It was so considerate of him to do that for us. Many people in the village don’t speak English so we are used to dealing with the language barrier. This was a treat.

After the message was shared there was a time of questions, dialogue and prayer. We all chose a partner and paired up with that person. We spent awhile holding hands, sharing prayer requests and praying blessings over each other. What a sweet time of fellowship for these lonely people. I am so happy they have friends in each other at this bible study. Sure, they have other friends in the village, but to share your heart with a fellow believer, to cry and laugh with them is something that is new for them. A new blessing. An amazing, life giving and life changing blessing.

You see, when they are taught English in school they are taught that when asked, “How are you?” the correct answer is “I am fine”. “I am fine” doesn’t go very deep. In a world of hurt, poverty, rejection and loneliness, we need deep, healthy conversations about God, children, marriages, arguments, worry and everything else we are troubled with in this fallen world. Once this happens forgiveness, restoration, peace and joy can begin to take hold in our hearts. This bible study is an outlet for people to share all their worries and fears, and to be prayed for and encouraged. During this time a seasoned believer from Loves Door is carefully helping to guide conversations and ask clarifying questions. These villagers are getting a taste of true Christian fellowship. Jesus replaces hurt and brokenness with restoration! He freely offers joy to those who come and sit in His presence, accepting all the gifts He offers. It is a beautiful thing to watch as my friend who was broken and living in sin when we met, shamed by a pregnancy out of wedlock, finding hope and being spiritually healed. Sweet Mama Hildah, you have come so far. Stay strong and don’t look back. Jesus is walking with you.

Many bible studies like this are being started in various villages where Loves Door is involved. We are so excited to see what God is doing. He is rising up an army of believers with a heart for Him. Please pray with us that these people would be set on fire with a passion for God and doing His will.

Imagine, walking along the Zambezi River, walking through village after village and seeing many more indigenous churches. Imagine more families with responsible fathers, who love and provide for their families, and mothers who love and care for their children. Imagine more smiles on children’s faces replacing the sad eyes of loneliness and despair. They laugh and play and love each other with pure hearts as the love of Jesus living in them shines through. Let’s join together in prayer as a body of believers for the new members of the family of God in the small villages along the Zambezi. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and although they are a world away with lives and cultures completely different, a very special bond links us. Jesus Christ! He is the Savior to us all, red, yellow, black and white. He loves us and rescued us all from ourselves. Let’s love each other and live in fellowship by praying for our friends in the village to be encouraged and not lose heart. We are in this together!

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing”.

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin”.

//words and photo by Makenna Humlie//

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