The Prince and the Pauper
The six of us sit around the common quest in Queen’s compound, as customary – the men on little stools and the women on a grass mat – helping to pull the offensive strings out of the pumpkin leaves as we talk. The dog is lolling on the ground; the chickens alternating incursions onto the mat for bits of the morning’s meal; the morning’s fire sending a single fine plume from the center of the 3 rock “African stove”. Rodrick is translating, Twila, our newest intern, is getting acquainted with village life, and I have an urgent message. But first we visit.
The simplicity of this lifestyle is enchanting – even Zambian town folk long for this quietude and vital connection between daily chores and survival. Subsistence living they call it – hand to mouth. You weed the field in the early morning, then back home, pick and prepare the leaves from the garden or pathway for lunch, put a fresh layer of mud on a portion of the house and you’re ready to fix supper by 8 or so, and then to sleep. Interruptions are constant and welcomed – I doubt they even have a concept of interruption – the journey from one event to another, unscheduled, unhurried, enjoying the fullness of each encounter regardless of the one you just missed – it leaves a Western Production Machine like me, stunned.
Moses tells of how he almost got devoured by a monster crocodile while washing clothes this morning – it grabbed his leg and, according to it’s strategy, was about to twist and hit him with it’s tail, when Moses threw his chetenga (a multi-purpose cloth used as a skirt, a rolled up turban, a cushion for carrying heavy loads on the head, and now I find, as a croc diversion!). The croc let him go and went after that instead while the skinny naked black man fled! We prayed a fervent prayer of renewed commitment and thanks that God would spare this man for better and more purposeful days! It just so happens that Moses, a notorious drunk with a sensitive conscience – drawn to Light, but recoiling in shame – came to church with us last Sunday and was deeply impacted. I suspect God is reeling him in.
As we talk I examine 2 year old David’s many poc marks covering his limbs – what could this be, I wonder. They say it’s the same affliction his father Theo had. David’s serious face brings Theo alive again – one of our first and most ardent of disciples who Jesus took to heaven after our first 10 months here. We were crushed, but now when I look at this little Seed of Theo, and as we negotiate what it would be like to raise him and his brothers in our children’s home, I wonder if God will yet complete this story that seemed so prematurely ended when Theo died. What if we can disciple these children into Kings, as we were discipling him? And, what if, instead of an ounce of transformation that we would have seen in Theo, we see radical transformation of his two sons as they are moulded 24/7/365 for 15 years! A Biblical Worldview, godly values, possibility thinking…
There are several more kids we take into the House of Moses today – all with tragic stories of rags and neglect. In Africa’s village an orphan will survive – that’s the goal. But nothing more. All thoughts of personal potential and dreams have died with the parent. Forget about good schooling or advancement. But what an opportunity for the Church of Jesus! – to receive the the residue of Africa’s fallenness – the promiscuity and corruption and propensity to witchcraft giving birth to the only continent that continues to decline in all vital signs of health – and these orphans are like the sludge from such a factory. But mixed with a new ingredient – Heavenly Mana – these dregs will become the very medicine that will heal this dying continent! If we can gather these 30% of kids into homes designed to infuse Jesus’ life and truth and educational excellence thru their formative years – what a wealth of potential for the Kingdom of God! Talk about Apostolic Mission! Talk about Church Planting! Talk about a movement! I wish every Christ Follower on earth would catch this vision and begin to invest in it.
- Besides the 5 new children in our Singanga House of Moses (Regina will give more detail on them in the next blog), we have partnered with 4 families to help their orphaned children with school and monthly food. But it’s so hard when you get under the surface and see the silent cry of so many other children that desperately need help as well. God give us grace to grow and help them as well. Lord, send workers to search out the broken and bring them into the fold.
- We are in serious discussions with village leaders about starting a kindergarten and 1st grade school – “under a tree”, as it were. They are desperate to start something for the kids growing up without schooling, and willing to take initiative to saddle the 2 high school graduates in the area to teach in whatever shelter they can quickly come up with. They will probably build a temporary reed structure on our property, and we will certainly help with finance and advice.
- We finally squeezed thru the eye of the needle – the testing time of the last months – onto higher ground! The village headman has fully released the land he was contending for, selling it to us for a moderate $15,000. And most of you were not aware of our most drastic financial crisis in Dec. (we share these only with our prayer partners and board to “make room for God” Rom 12:19) and how God answered with the most hilarious, extra-ordinary donations from many sources in the last week of that month – more than the entire years donations!
- Our Singanga All Nations Church is progressing well. We have started a Sunday service in
our Gathering Place – definitely a new day for these 18 villages that have never seen an evangelical, Christ following church like this before. Many remain suspicious, but the walls are coming down. And we have 2 new village Bible Studies.
- I am writing this from our base in N Zambia (Luanshya) where there is a beginning of a Jesus movement in the village of Walale, as people are getting saved, delivered, excited and telling others. Aaron and Charles are indomitable evangelists and church planters.
- The children’s home here is in need of major renovation – plumbing, electrical work, furnishings, stove and fridge – probably a new house would be easier! Please pray for some to partner with this exciting new work – interns, prayer partners,finance partners. They have also had the sad experience of one of their teen
- Our month old Sports and Leadership Academy (still trying to find a better name for it) is definitely attracting attention. Young people are swarming to our place – girls for the netball and guys for soccer. Willy has selected a team of 24 boys and 12 girls to train, but many more are benefiting on the side. We need many interns to volunteer for 6 months or more to work with this program – please pray about coming – YES, YOU! [DONATE. INTERN. ]
- Our staff house is coming up! We had a good shot in the arm as Jason and Liana [BLOG] came and devoted time into helping. And this week there will be another carpenter coming to help for a week. Pray for a good Construction Man to VOLUNTEER during these numerous upcoming construction projects!
- Mandate Discipleship School has been a wonderful blessing to the work here. They are doing DBS bible studies, hoeing widow’s gardens, and blessing our long term team with their wonderful worship skills. We will miss them as they leave in a week.
- Adam King, our Administrative Assistant, will leave with Mandate. Boo Hoo! We are desperate for another already. PLEASE PRAY ABOUT COMING AND SERVING IN OUR OFFICE FOR A YEAR. I can almost guarantee it will be a life changing experience for you – living in community with Extreem Prayer Zealots, on mission, reaching the unreached peoples, serving the orphans and widows – ahh – what an opportunity! And for the right person we would even help with the expense, which is not much in the first place. [Find application HERE.]