Only in Zambia would certain things happen, little things that confirm to me that life is very indeed different here. Have you ever been stopped by a customs official in a shopping centre? He recognised me from the airport and thought that I should ‘help’ him with some fuel, in return for an easy passage next time of course. I explained that God wouldn’t allow me to do such a thing and made my exit. Hopefully he won’t remember me at the airport…. Wearing plastic shopping bags on your head at the swimming pool is perfectly acceptable, to keep your hair dry of course. Life here is indeed different.
In all of the change and motion that is currently going on, it is easy to just be able to deal with the ‘needs’ of life, the essentials if you like. It’s easy to forget that we are here on a mission. Only a few days ago have we found somewhere to live, and more recently than that have we felt any peace about agreeing to live there. It’s a large house, a little bit uncared for should we say but a house none the same. It has mains power connected, but Zesco haven’t turned it on yet (and probably won’t do for a long while, although there is a large generator). It is a little far out from town as well, but in some ways it is also very well located for our work, almost equidistant between two areas I want to plant the work in myself. The issue is, it is all very different again. Jude and I get used to mains running water and electricity, we get used to things being easy. When things are in flux your mind gets caught up with simply having somewhere to sleep, eating and sorting out the basics you haven’t got nailed down.
Saying all of that, over the last 2-3 days I’ve felt a lot more peaceful about everything and we’ve been able to concentrate a little on this great task that the Lord has given us. This next week we have a conference at Ndubaluba Outdoor Education Centre in Mkushi. Leaders from the three areas are coming together to have a few days of input. Getting them there is my main concern. No matter how many times I confirm the arrangements, I still have this feeling that some of them will turn up a day late. The conference is going to be great, so far outside of their normal experience that it will not fail to affect them. I’m praying (as I hope you will too) that God will speak to these guys in a mighty way.
So next weekend is when we move into our new home. In some ways I’m quite looking forward to it. Yes it’s Zambia, yes, I’d never buy the place in a month of sundays in the Uk, but it will be place we can call home, and that’s important. I feel more than a little like a refugee at the moment, passing from one gracious and hospitable person to the next. The people are lovely, it just isn’t home.
How did Jesus feel when he said that he had “nowhere to lay his head”? What did he mean? The last few weeks have taught me how important our ‘home’ is to us. I have dealt with this many times before but it is still something I struggle with, but what did Jesus mean? He left his home in heaven to come and rescue us, to come and rescue a creation that had spun out of its’ original intention. I am sure jesus could have had a home, he could have settled down during his ministry years instead, even taken a wife… (don’t worry we aren’t going Last Temptation of Christ here…) but he did not. He chose not to. Why? Maybe because he was on a mission and those things had no place in his divine mission of reconciliation for the whole world.
It tells us a lot about the relative place of our own comfort and needs. Our own comfort is like a leach that gets hold of our heart and sucks the adventure, daring and very life from our bones. I say this, because I struggle with it myself. If we are not careful it sucks the very life from our souls and negates anything that the lord may want to do through us. This isn’t a sermon topic you hear often, but I wonder that if we made (if I made) more of a habit of giving up our comfort, that we may see more of the glory of God and see His Spirit move mightily through us? Is this what the church in my own country requires?
I ask where are the selfless servants of God in this place? I look around and even see my self backing in to the shadows, not wanting to put myself forward, I’ve got too much to lose apparently. Last week I had a denominational leader get annoyed with me because I would not help his financial need. I hardly know the guy. Where is the selflessness in that? Why does the African church always come down to money, why does the english church always come down to comfort and politeness? We have got to shake these things off if we ever want to be any use to the Lord or anyone.
There is time for us, time for me and time for you to obtain just a glimpse of God’s power working through us and for us to see and understand what this life is all about.
I’m going to end this rambling post, but as i do, I’m thankful for what the lord has provided for us, maybe just maybe he’s been teaching me about what I need, now what I want. Maybe through that, he will help me, help us to be more effective in this great work of the Kingdom, amongst the bush in Africa.
That fact alone gives me great comfort.