Sunday saw us travelling for 14 hours on roads that were sometimes less than forgiving. Sometimes going fast, sometimes bumping around. I must admit that after 14 hours I was beginning to loose the will to live. I’m sure that Mark and Andy, my new found companions, felt very much the same.
Mark and Andy had arrived on Saturday morning before me. In fact by the time I had nearly missed my plane in Nairobi, Kenya, they were in Lusaka already waiting for me. To be honest, when I arrived I hardly felt human. The day before I’d come from Western Kenya, but then met up with a friend, Michael Bolding who is working with CLEAR in Kenya. We had a chat, went to feed some Giraffes (a very fun experience – never been kissed by a Giraffe before!), chatted some more and then went to Carnivore, which is a restaurant I had heard about from many people. It was great, but after getting up about 5am (again!) I was completely tired by the time I got back to where I was staying.
So, on the Saturday when I arrived in Lusaka, I was not feeling the best. When Mark’s bag did not turn up, it was almost an invitation to stay in Lusaka overnight, rather than the Copperbelt. Although that did lead to the gruelling 14 hour drive.
Our destination was Nyamgombe Christian Training Centre. Quite a remarkable place and where some quite outstanding missionaries Gordon and Cybil McKillop reside. Their mission is a base for all kinds of activity and training that goes on in the area. Imagine driving for 7 hours through small villages and bad roads and then suddenly coming across a place with power, guest houses, workshops and the like. Quite an oasis.
Monday saw a number of church planters come together to meet us. Gordon had very kindly arranged for it to happen. There was about 21 of them, 3 teams that go out into different remote areas planting churches. During the morning we listened, prayed, worshipped and tried to understand their triumphs and challenges. It’s heart rending sometimes to listen to. The main thing I heard was the whole idea that many were discouraged, defeated in the villages. There was a “what can we do attitude” that prevailed.
I began to see the possibilities, I began to see some simple things that can be done. Spending time with the villagers and the churches. Bringing some simple help, making relationships and seeking with them and the church planters to make something that can last for a very long time. That is what I want to try and do with “Life!” (a mission initiative I want to put together progressively over the next few months), that is the goal. I struggle sometimes to see the gap, for example even an organisation like World Vision will work with the Church (or faith based groups as they say – hate that phrase!). However I guess that a secular agenda will very much come on the scene. What happened to Jesus transforming communities, what happened to the power of the Holy Spirit breaking the bondage of Sin and Transforming a Community? So much of what the Church does is simply secular, I am so discouraged by it. I don’t believe for one minute this is what the Church was called to.
In my heart I’m an evangelist. The message of the Gospel is the greatest that mankind has ever received. It is this message with all of it’s consequences that must go forth. My hearts desire it to make that happen, to make it happen in rural Africa, in a continent which I have a love/hate relationship with. Of course, we are not the only people doing this, but there seems to be so little happening in terms of direct input and involvement in the villages. The guys who are planters and evangelists have such a hard time, sleeping anywhere, going anywhere, doing anything. It is these people, the wider rural Church that need to be helped to be the Oaks of Righteousness that we so dearly want to see.
Out here in the bush – I am sick of mission. 🙂 By that I don’t mean the actual work of evangelisation and helping people, I’m sick of all of the rubbish that goes on. I’m sick of the prim and proper attitudes that the church has. I’m sick of the division that happens because of the church. All of the deception, marketing, the industry that surrounds it all with mission organisations – it makes me tired, weary and quite fed up! This isn’t what we were called to, certainly not what I was called to. I just want to get back to helping people know Jesus, encouraging the lowly and helping to make people’s lives better. The kind of stuff that Jesus would do.