The heat of the sun is beating down on the iron sheets above me. As they warm, they creak and groan as the metal expands under the heat of the sun. I’m sat in what I suppose is a traditional village church. This church is located about 30km outside of the northern Zambian town of Kasama.
The floor is broken cement, it was probably laid quiet a few hears ago now. People sit on simple wooden benches and the windows are just openings made in the brickwork. There are no window panes at all. A simple wooden cross painted with red gloss paint adorns the wall. To say it is rough and ready is an understatement.
We are camped in my trusty Vango Tagus 400. It sounds like a spaceship but it is actually a tent. The shade of a number of pine trees gives us shelter from the sun. We bath in a concrete bunker, with a broken iron sheet as the door. There is no electricity and no running water. The only water, is from a well at the school.
When people come from abroad, rugged buildings and lack of physical things is the first thing they notice. You then get a scramble to fix those material elements. People come to build, they come to fix up. What we miss all so easily is that there is a link between the spiritual world and the material one. You affect the former, it changes the latter.
I’ve just spoken to a bunch of villagers about the Holy Spirit. We talked about being children of God, having a common heritage. At this moment I am utterly spent. I’ve retreated back to my tent for a while. As I was speaking I was thinking to myself. The spirit really does give us everything ad Christians both to know God and change the lives of those around us. how often though do we start in the Spirit and then return to our own effort?
I heard a story from a group in Nchelenge the other day. A woman beca,e a Christian attending a life group that was using rooted in Jesus, which is a discipleship course. To this we supplement with a heavy dose of Christian social responsibility. She has taken in some orphans in her village into her own home. Why? It’s a work of the Spirit. She looked at the children one day and felt that they were all Gods children. So she took them in. Another area has prayed for their crime ridden area for a year. Many of the trouble makers lives are now different, they have become Christians. The area is no longer known for crime. The spiritual affects the physical very profoundly.
Andy has come from the UK and he’s speaking to a group of around 25 villagers. At the moment he talking about everybody having a place in a small group, in church (in the widest sense that meets in their village). It’s a powerful message because villagers are usually disempowered and don’t have hope for a better future. They definitely don’t believe that they can change their world. Yet because of the Spirit they can. The Spirit is the great equalizer. We need him to know god ANC we need him to make a lasting difference. Rich and poor alike is is the same. Humanitarianism depends on a stronger human helping benevolently a weaker human. This is not humanitarianism. Charity depends on the richer giving to the poorer. This is not charity. This is simply the Spirit welling up from within people in acts of godliness, generosity, power and change. That is how the Spirit works. I’m not a philanthropist, humanitarian of anything. I’m simply a Christian who believes in the power of God to change people.
The road that has led us here has it’s roots earlier in the year. Webster has organised the gathering here, and he back in july attended a planting conference of ours in Lusaka. Its really exciting to think that seed we planted, we are here watering. In fact our effort is only small, it is really Gods effort at work. It again is the Spirit.
This work is spreading. This week we are in kasama, next week in Mkushi, the week after we hope in Namibia. This isn’t because of anyone’s brilliance. It is because of the Spirit.