Last night was cold, very overcast with a strong northerly wind from the Congo, bringing a chill in to the air. Rather than being tucked up in bed, I found myself at 1 am, sitting in my 4×4 in the village of Chalata, waiting for Augustine to turn up from Nchelenge.
Nchelenge is 14 hours bus ride away, so I hardly could complain at sitting in my car. Augustine was travelling down to a meeting we were having this morning about village training for the Life! Initiative. Augustine is a tall man, he has to lean over to hug me….. so do most people I am reliably told. As we met on the roadside, well its always awkward to hug someone a ft taller than you! Vincent, the second person attending the meeting is shorter and a really thinker and visionary. He in the past turned down ‘nice’ churches to go and work in the bush. Peter Muyombe from Mkushi,is more the elder statesman of the three who had come. Older and wider than perhaps everyone else. He arrived on a farm tractor at 8am, time enough to have some breakfast. Normally he would walk 2 hours to my place.
About a month ago, I challenged all of our groups to take up the task of expanding into new areas from the ground up. Maybe it would be an expansion of their work, maybe planting a whole new team next door to themselves, whatever it would be, it was their job as well. There are many actions going on here at the moment, but this is one of the most significant. Right from the beginning of this movement we have worked towards the release of communities and villagers to work with God for themselves. It is beginning to happen.
I have been truly humbled by the response. It would be easy for those from the UK to think that this work is about Jude and myself. It quite frankly isn’t. It’s about the tens and hundreds of people who are in the villages and what they will do and are doing. Listening to their stories, their challenges and their encouragements, I realised that the work was not solely mine. We have got to a point, where our friends here are beginning to see the vision and flex their muscles in pursuit of it.
So later this month, late August and in late September we will see the fruits of these labours when for the first time, those in Zambia will directly take up the vision of the Life! Initiative in their areas. This is by far and a way, the best piece of work I have ever been involved in. I simply feel so humbled that the Lord would give me a vision and a place of influence in it.
There is a long battle ahead for the heart of rural Africa, but the future of that mission will and no longer should be determined by those outside alone, it will be the hearts and minds of those who are in the bush that hold and execute the vision for themselves. Hearts and minds become feet and hands and I am excited to see this heart expressing itself in love and transformation in the villages here.
This is the future of Mission in rural Africa.
Tonight Jude, I and the kids are off to show the Jesus film in the compound….. the things you do on a Friday night…