First Contact: A Gallery

Yesterday afternoon we visited Chilata, a village area some 7 km from where Jude and I live. Axion (pictured) the farm foreman had arranged a meeting of village elders and church leaders for us.

This is Peter Muyombe. He is chairman and part of an existing Life! team which we planted in Mkushi area last year. He had come to share his testimony, translate and help us to begin identifying individuals we can work with.

Jude is approaching the village hut where decisions are made. This is the first time that someone (me) has requested a meeting with all of the churches and leaders at one time. I’m trying to avoid partisan relationships. One wrong word and it can all go wrong. 61 leaders from 8 villages have come.

After I speak and ask for permission to work in the area with them, there is much deliberation. I had spoken upon the Body of Christ and the fact that we are all needed to make a difference here.

Many of the Church and community leaders present whilst knowing one another do not work together. In fact some of them were quite tanked up, there is a great problem of ‘nominally’ here in the bush. As I pointed out that we often don’t get on – everyone smirked with a knowing smile.
The village leaders want to ask some questions about the ministry. I reply by saying we will be showing the Jesus film and seeking to plant a group in their village where every church and everyone is welcome. Eventually this will grow to a group that seeks to transform their village.
The deliberation continues. This is an African way of coming to a decision, people together. Everyone who wants to must speak and express his opinion. Someone suggested women should not be involved. I said I thought wives should come and be involved to take it in a different tack. Thankfully everyone shouted him down.
Success!, everyone has agreed. Now the work begins, next week we will meet representatives from each village to discuss the programme. Peter will also be along to help us through the maze of language and culture.
On your bike! This pastor will now be cycling home, probably some one or two hours to his home.
It’s also time for us to go and pick up our kids from school. As we leave we feel very happy that we have managed to bring the community together and get them talking. Soon we hope they will all be studying Rooted in Jesus in village groups. Peter lives some 45 mins away from me. This is a landmark in the area called the Celtel tower and marks the point at which Peter lives.
It takes time to get around here, but today it has been very worthwhile.

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