Villagers for Dinner

It is the last few days of my current expedition within Zambia. The time seems to have gone so quickly. It is now nearly November and I have been here since July.

The last few weeks have been a flurry of activity. I’ve probably driven nearly 2000 miles in that time as well. Yet despite all of the travelling, it has been really quite fantastic to see the reality of our vision right in front of us, in lots of villagers beginning to take up the task of reaching and helping their own villages.

It is precisely these people that we invited around to our house yesterday. In Mkushi, 12 people came, 6 of whom are the new organising team for the Life! Initiative here. The rest were spouses. I was a little tired after getting up at 5am to go to a men’s breakfast, a short distance, some 30 miles away…. I’ll never get used to that here! I then sat around at a bank for bank cards that never came and then went home to meet the villagers.

It’s hard to be hospitable to people from another culture. People don’t talk in the same way or share the same humour. So when surrounded by 12 rural Zambians, the only thing I could think of doing was getting everyone to share their testimony. This went very well and everyone seemed much happier after that.

Perhaps the biggest shock of the afternoon came when I learned that not one of the people in the room had ever been in a Mizungu’s(white persons) house before. Apparently people don’t get invited in usually in this area. In some ways I was quite proud that they were in and we were enjoying time together.

This I guess is the point of this post. I really really believe that God working through these guys, the villagers is the way forward. It is not in more aid or compassion from us. It is in these guys themselves surging forward. Many people even here believe that some kind of intervention from the outside will work. It won’t. Our lives are too different. So in everything, I’m trying to help those in the bush to reach the bush. That means they are my friends, colleagues, brothers and sisters in this task that the Lord has given me to do.

How could I not invite them into my home?

When people do not invite someone they are saying that they are different, probably better than the person not being invited in. I cannot agree with that. It would destroy some of the very principles I am trying to live and work by. God has arranged beauty and dignity in every person I meet, especially the villagers.

Africa’s only hope is to believe and recognise that.

For me and Jude that means to try and immerse ourselves in what God is doing in the rural areas of Africa. A new day is dawning, a wave of God that will release many rural people. This is the future in Africa.

It is also our future.

From early 2010 Jude and I will take a step towards directing this work in a more full time fashion. That means, if the Lord allows and if it is right, that we will move to Zambia for at least 9 mths next year, and perhaps more the next.

It’s the logical thing to do. It’s the right thing to do. It is our calling. It’s time that our life aligned to what we are called to do.

Having some villagers for dinner is really just the beginning.

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