Training in Zambia is a taste of Kingdom come. CATCH THE VISION!!
Author: Jeremy Lelek
NOTE: Guest authors from our TEAM in Zambia Africa. Kaci Pastore, Jordan Schartz and Tiesha Henderson
I don't want to be a big part of a small thing. I want to be a small part of a big thing. -Isaac
I've never been to a third world country. The idols of comfort and control have already been dramatically exposed, and T.I.A. (This is Africa) has quickly become a dominating phrase in our vocabulary. How can you explain a place like Africa and what exactly it does to your heart?
Each morning we bounce like pinballs over potholes and sit like sardines encased in bags of PB&J sandwiches, apples, and chips. We pass the garbage dump on the way to the school, a giant field of burning trash. Shoeless children pop up and down like popcorn as they hunt for buried treasures, and the others are waving and chasing our van. We pull up to the gate and honk… A child from the community runs towards us to let us into the compound.
Stepping out of the van that first morning, I was captivated, caught, my heart skipped its usually percussion… As children swarmed the van, I heard the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my 298 months of life. The adults were singing in the tabernacle. I saw the sunlight dripping through the hollowed out cinder blocks that compose the top part of the building's walls, the turquoise paint reflecting the tone of its inhabitants, and the fabric on the walls waving from the wind. We danced, we sang, we shook hands, we kissed cheeks, we hugged, and I stood in awe of the beauty of God. This community invites outsiders into the promise: Taste and see that the LORD is good, and that we did.
Now I'm sitting outside one of the classrooms. The rusted windows are open, and I can hear Jay talking about sanctification. The meeting place of the red floor and the concrete wall makes a lovely spot to sit and write. Dirt surrounds me and a clothesline connects two buildings in front of me. Jay is now shifting the topic of her class to the Gospel. This is the first time the first-year students have ever heard all the elements of the Gospel, and they are wrestling to swallow its weight into their hearts, minds, bones, and souls.
The world of these women looks so different than my world. They have a daily dependence on the LORD I have never known. They see the unseen world of demonic dominion unlike I see at home, and in the face of disease, death, poverty, abuse, and witchcraft, their faces glow with the glory of God. They don't make appointments to walk in community, they just do it. I came to teach but immediately became a student to these strong, Spirit-filled, and Eternity-focused Zambian women.
I have never been accepted so quickly into a circle of people. I have never felt so immediately appreciated and encouraged, and I have never been more excited to see women long to know, understand, and minister God's Word. As cultures collide into a week of teaching, counseling, dancing, tea and biscuits, differences in theology, relationships, and social norms surface. We may not think or speak in the same language, but we drink from the same Spirit. The LORD's thoughts are not our thoughts nor are His ways our ways. As we discovered the cultural differences among the Zambian and American church, we affirmed in unity that we are one and God is worthy of all praise. He is not like us. He looks at the heart, He loves constantly without restraint and embraces us consistently in our darkest moments of rebellion and grief. We are inferior to God and speak a language of pride and self-interest, but He speaks the language of redemption through Christ Jesus- The embodied Word of God. We lay forth our weaknesses and accept each other's strengths. We are counseling one another, and we are counseled by the LORD from the riches of His Word.
Counseling is a method of incarnation. Just as God descended into our world and speaks in a language we can understand, this is likewise our calling as the body of Christ. We descend into the pits, the valleys, the muck and mire, the caves, and the seas of despair to speak the healing balm of God's Word into the dark nights of the soul. Christ is our intercessor, our mediator, our friend. As Isaac said, we do not want to be a big part of a small thing but a small part of a big thing. We are tiny players in God's drama of redemption. We are a part of something magnificently larger than we can even define, a drop of tears in the ocean of hope. This training in Zambia is a taste of Kingdom come.
To my brothers and sisters in Zambia that live the following truths, I pray this over you as God changes the hope and heart of Zambia…
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
by: Kaci Pastore
As we hit the midpoint in our time of teaching it is apparent to see that the Zambians are becoming more comfortable with our presence. Through the testimonies spoken and the minimally painless coalescing of our two different cultures, God’s grace is very evident and greatly encouraging.
We read in 1 Samuel 16:7
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
One of the most beautiful things regarding the collision of our cultures is described by the above verse, as in context as the Zambians sing differently, pray differently, and live differently. However our worship of God, correlated by a longing to pursue truth in scripture, know Christ deeply, and live our lives righteously, reveals that God has done the same work on the hearts of Zambians as He has in ours. We have been warmly embraced by a people that are becoming day by day more passionate for the Gospel and the freedom from bondage that it brings. We have heard multiple testimonies of people struggling through seasons of chaos and God drawing them closer for His Glory. In fact one of our students shared a testimony concerning how he lost his wife and son within a 4 year period but the teaching on depression is beginning to help him understand his reactions, and how the Lord is able to help restore his joy. He wants to share his story with others that are also struggling in hopes that they also would find God’s comfort and truth in times of pain and uncertainty.
We ended Wednesday with an opportunity to witness God’s power by praying for a man who needed healing for a tumor on his foot. We ask you to join us in continual prayer for him. He is actually our chef at the hotel and makes a stellar omelet!
by: Jordan Schartz
Someone once told me that family and food are two things people of any culture can connect over. So I started my teaching session by talking with the Zambian women about our favorite recipes.
I had hoped that in this culture where people readily open their homes and their hearts, a comparison between the necessary ingredients in a cherished dish and the essentials of biblical counseling would make an impression on them.
When we talked about how although salt and sugar are very similar in appearance, none of the women in the room would ever substitute one for the other in a guest's mug of tea, I asked them to ask themselves a simple question whenever they sit down with counselees: Am I about to serve this person salty tea? For bad counsel is equally bitter and even worse for the soul.
After the translator finished talking, I saw nods of recognition and heard utterances of affirmation. The connection had been made, and so began a time of sharing, exhorting, and admonishing.
I was incredibly blessed by their participation in the session. Though I answered many of the questions myself, I most enjoyed listening to the women as they counseled one another. I learned a lot about common issues in Lusaka and the surrounding areas. And it is my hope that they were encouraged to view the issues that affect them in light of Scripture.
During the part of the session where we discussed how biblical counseling prays fervently by the Spirit, I realized one of my absolute favorite things about the Zambians we served: They pray with an earnestness and an urgency that I have not encountered in any of the other countries I have been blessed to visit.
I loved spending time with our Zambian brothers and sisters and seeing how the faith is lived out in their cultural context. I was continuously humbled by their thankfulness for our team's teachings and the eagerness with which they received the Word of God and the Equipped to Counsel material.
I pray the Lord uses our time there mightily, and I am excited to see the Zambians progress from students to teachers.
by: Tiesha Henderson
Posted on March 8, 2013