Dear family and friends,
Our latest mission trip through Southern Africa has been an amazing walk of faith and a testimony of God’s faithfulness. Everything came together in the last few days before Jean and I departed. Once again we travelled mainly by bus and minibus through Zambia, Tanzania and Malawi as we preached and taught the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Walking with God truly is the ultimate adventure!
The first part of our trip was spent teaching God’s Vision God’s Mission to mission students at the Operation Mobilisation (OM) base in Kabwe, Zambia. This was a good participative class with plenty of questions and positive feedback. While I taught the classes, Jean operated the camera and by the time the week of teaching was completed, we had also produced eleven DVDs containing more than 20 hours of teaching. From the outset we felt God urging us to focus the classes on His presence more than just on the principles being taught.
While in Kabwe we met a UK couple who work at Lake Tanganyika. We managed to arrange a lift with them to Mpulungu in northern Zambia. As we waited at the roadside under a full moon in the early morning, an excitement began stirring in us. GVGM in Mpulungu turned out to be a wonderful class! We had missionaries from USA, UK, Finland, South Africa and, of course, Zambia in the class. At times the presence of God was almost tangible. Soaking up God’s presence in the evening and sharing the Word of the Kingdom during the day made this class refreshingly memorable. At times it seemed that just reading a Scripture in the class was enough to usher in the presence of God. God was in our midst and He was also more interested in having us experience His presence than just fill our minds with knowledge. Jean also began teaching in Mpulungu which was a great help to me.
It was sad to say good bye to our new friends after such a short visit, but soon we were bussing our way to Kasama where we met a former student who had attended classes with me about 11 years previously. He had arranged train tickets for us and escorted us to the train station where we waited until 5am to board the “express” train to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. After a long and dusty trip we arrived early enough to catch the first ferry to Stonetown, Zanzibar where we met South African missionaries, as well as another former Zambian student who is preparing for ministry on the island. For the duration of the GVGM Zanzibar class we moved into a Christian commune and shared a house with Zanzibari Christians, travelling each day by daladala to and from class. Jean and I are still amazed at how much Swahili we learned in that short time and we are both inspired to learn more.
Zanzibar was once the hub of the slave trade on the east coast of Africa, but is now an island of slaves to religion, with 95% of the population being Muslim. The afternoon call to prayer reverberated from no fewer than three nearby minarets while we had class each day. Christians are few and ineffective as they have little understanding of the kingdom of God and are often persecuted. Opportunities for ministry abound in Zanzibar. We have been invited to teach pastors at a conference in Dar es Salaam next year.
After terrible sea sickness on the ferry and another bus ride, we arrived in the mountainous region of Mbeya, where we met with Ps Jacob who had arranged GVGM Mbeya in a very poor area. This class was small and at first we wondered why we were there, but soon we realised God’s love for these people. During this class the Lord again blessed us with His presence and with abundant revelation as the Word was broken open.
Two minibuses and a real African overnight bus later, we arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi where we were joined by Tienie, Esmari and Melani from South Africa. The five of us met up with Ps Rodney from World Outreach and we went out the next day to preach at various churches. The GVGM course in Lilongwe was also held in a poor area, but the people attending were hungry for the Word and the Spirit. They received the teaching with joy. At one point during the course the translator just began to laugh with joy because of the revelation he had received. We have also been invited by one of the bishops who attended this course to return next year. The same bishop commented that these five days of teaching contained much more than his years at Bible School, and they have many other leaders who also need this teaching.
Throughout our travels of over 8000km on mostly public transport, we were always aware of God’s presence and purpose. Along the way we saw His hand as He provided transport, accommodation, finances and favour. As we travelled back through Mozambique, Esmari and Melani encountered a problem with an official because of their documentation. Just as Moses told Pharaoh to let God’s people go, we did the same in the Spirit and immediately they were free to go. Thank you Jesus!