The Bicycle Story
We’ve been walking for over an hour and still no village in sight. Passing thru the deep bush went by fast, with the good company of Joshua and Lishomo, but every now and then I would marvel at the forest, the tall grass lands, the typical African landscape that seems suitable for lions to roam. 80 minutes from the nearest village and 40 minutes from the paved road, Bengweta Village has no church except a dying Zion Church – a blend of African witchcraft and Christian ecstatic chicanery.
It also has no shabeen (African village bar) – hallelujah!
The village is begging us to come and start a church. So Joshua has risen to the challenge and agrees to take me along today.
It is a first generation village that has broken off of Sugar Village because of too much drunkenness and resulting laziness and dysfunction. They found a fruitful place where the water table is bubbling up from the ground, where the soil is fertile and rich, and little to distract from their priorities.
First we visit A’gree and his family. As we bow in prayer, instructing people to listen and obey the Voice that is always just a reach away, we sense there is someone needing healing. Sure enough! We pray for a little girl and God does a miracle. We tell the Bible story of the thief on the cross and invite the family to open their hearts like the penitent thief. When they ask when we will build them a church Joshua tells them “First let us build a church in our hearts, and then we will build a place to meet together.”
We then walk to Fabian’s house – the one Joshua has discerned to be a “Person of Peace” (understand our terminology here). This man is obviously an elevated thinker and achiever. He has one of the finest gardens I’ve seen in the village, and a thriving business selling his product. As we settle into seeking God and His Word, Fabian is fuly engaged.
We tell the “Bicycle Story.” > Once when I was passing by a shbeen in Sugar Village, a tipsy “Blind Bartemaus” called out and drew me over. “Mr. Dan, why don’t you come to our village and start a church? We are all eager to hear the Word of God.” I quiz him, “Really? Do you think people would change their lives and come to church if I built one?” Enthusiastically, “Yes! They will come! We used to have a church here before – did you know? Yes – we all went to it regularly…” – with a theatrical sweep of his arm to all the other nodding drunks. “Well!” I said. “What happened to the church?” “Ahhh”, with a shake of his head in typical Zambian expression. “The bicycle broke!” Me – “The bike broke?” Him – “Yes. The bicycle broke. The pastor would come every week from near town on his bicycle. At first he was here every week and we were all coming. Then one Sunday he didn’t come, and we all just sat there waiting. The next week he came and said his tire was flat. Then after that there were more and more times he did not come, and finally he just did not come back.” All the men looking dejected and nodding… “And so the church finished.”
As we told the story to Fabian I could see the lights going on. “Fabian” I said, “we cannot allow the Church of the Living Jesus Christ be dependent on a bicycle! We believe that in every spiritually awakened follower of Jesus there is an incredibly powerful seed that has the potential to lead others to Christ, to teach others the few things he or she has already learned, and to join with a few other believers to make a powerful church that can radically affect the whole village around them!” I could see he was totally tracking with me.
“Fabian, you and your village were asking Joshua to come here and bring the Word of God to you and to build a church. Yes, he will do that. But even more than that, he is coming to unleash something in each of you so that you can lead your own church; you can reach out and lead others in your village to Christ; you can worship together in a way that actually brings the Presence of Almighty God into your midst; and you can send out missionaries to other villages with the story of what God has done for your village!”
There was a slight smile on Fabian’s face as he thought of that. Then he simply said, “Train me.” I felt that in our simple words this man was hearing the Voice of God, like Isaiah heard – “Whom can I send? Who will go for us?” And Isaiah, along with Fabian, replied, “Here am I. Send me!”
Molly. Last week a man came to us telling of a little girl in a distant village from us that was in danger of dying from hunger. Mother had died, father was moving around trying to scrape out a living, leaving the little 4 year old with the drunken grandparents who were mistreating her – giving her nothing to eat and totally neglecting her. Her only food was berries from the bush, and though they filled the craving in her stomach, they were making her sick. The father wanted us to come and take her to our home. We met with the family yesterday. We had a long talk with the whole family. Their walls are all broken down – drunkenness, deep poverty, it appears like perhaps HIV, promiscuity… Yes there may come a day when God restores their fortunes and they will come to retrieve Molly. But the rubble is deep, and it seems hopeless. In the mean time, Molly will have a chance to find Life.
Injury. We have 3 young interns (Regina – Germany; Kelsey – OK; Morgan – CA) who are putting feet to our Family Table Sponsorship Program. Yesterday they were attending a meeting at a new village school, when the wind blew a heavy metal pole over, hitting the two Americans on the head! Both of these girls had a history of multiple concussions, and it was apparent that at least one of them just found another one! They were both rushed to the hospital and even now are sitting in observation. Thank God – we got a CT Scan last night and they have no internal bleeding. Pray for them.
Thad and Mary May. These two wonderful people have supplanted me (Dan). It used to be when we would go to the village, as the vehicle was approaching a village the children would hear the sound and come running with a chorus of “Danni, Danni, Danni”. Well now it is, “Thaddi, Thaddi, Thaddi…” I’m ticked! And they have done so so so much to make life in Love’s Door a thing of enjoyment and excitement. Unless you meet them you will hardly believe what an impact they have; but once you meet them once, you will know what I mean. Thad is an unstoppable work horse on the base – making all things beautiful, doing construction like only an engineer can do – with precision – yet more – with joy! Leading the workers and the team with laughs and careful thoughtfulness. Well, we are sad to say, a family emergency is calling them home again. We pray they may return again some day. Pray for them that God would make a way.
Pam. Pam Arlund, the teaching leader of All Nations Kansas City, visited us for 5 full days – spending 3 days in the village, telling her experiences, teaching simple yet powerful church planting principles, and leading us into the best Chinese food – with real Chinese discussions going down – that we have experienced.
Teams and Interns. We have had a Plethora of People Populating our Place of Perfect Peace. Face it – people just love our village experience. If we were only catering to wealthy vacationers we would be rich!
- Last two weeks of May: 1. YWAM team of ___ for ___ weeks. 2. World Race team of ___ for ___ days. 3. Three interns for about six weeks.
- Second week June: 1. Allison (intern) arrives this week for six weeks. 2. Two German ladies and 3. a World Race team will go to the village for 3 days later this week.
- Third week June: Michelle and Sarah (interns) arrive next week for 4 weeks. Engage group goes to the village for 5 days next week.
- Forth week June: German Regina leaves, Mays leave, Kelsey and Morgan leave.
- July: One team coming, two more interns arriving, vacation for a staff member, two interns leaving.
WHERE IS OUR ADMINISTRATOR? PROJECT MANAGER? OFFICE HELPER? WE ARE GOING CRAZY!
Family Table Sponsorship. It is such a joy to sign up kids for a new life! Our interns and Regina are going thru the villages and getting kids enrolled who have been sponsored. Elvis stood up in church Sunday and shared how happy he is to be going back to school. They are all gradually getting their school fees registered, getting books and equipment, a backpack, shoes, a uniform and a bag of mealie meal (ground maize) each month. They are also all getting evaluated and signed up for tutoring and life skills classes. Its a lot of work, but we can see that soon this will be a huge effective ministry to many many families in the villages. I am believing for 150 families being touched by this.
We need a village base operations guy or couple to serve for a year – doing maintenance and light building, hosting the many teams and visitors and interns coming to the village base.
We need a town team host – again some maintenance and shopping and cooking and organizing work duties from the many visitors and staff when we are in town, as well as being the contact person for people arriving – what to bring, and how to behave, counseling and comforting…
We are ready to have electricity on the base – to the tune of $22,000!
We are desiring to help the rapidly expanding church in Luanshya (N Zambia) to build a church building.
One of our six full time Zambian church planters is getting some regular supporters. Three of them have some very small businesses going. Our desire is to help each of these missionaries with sustainable profitable businesses and some supporters who believe in them.