There are no words…
A picture paints a thousand words. Today there are no words, just pictures. Take a close look at them. In a few days time I will put into words one of the most incredible stories unfolding here in Zambia!
Man on a mission…
Six weeks ago, John Cornelius from Loads of Love and Evangel Church in Chatham, arrived at TTC here in Kitwe. John comes once a year to Zambia “as a man on a mission”.
Three years ago, he renovated the third floor of the prayer tower which has now become “The Robert Hall Ministry Formation Center”. It is from this tower that RTC leads its ministry to the Continent of Africa. This year, John’s mission was to start construction on the new chapel on the grounds of Trans Africa Theological College.
It never ceases to amaze me what can be accomplished by one man when he is on a mission. John has a gift in getting national workers to come alongside of him and work hard from early morning to late afternoon six days a week.
The chapel will seat eight hundred people when it is finished. The target date for completion and dedication of the facility is March 2014.
God, give us more John C’s. People who, in the midst of retirement, find a place to use their God given giftings. Thank you John for coming again this year to Zambia. Thank you for your passion, vision and hard work. Thank you for mentoring young Zambian men in the excellence of construction.
As you leave for Canada tomorrow, please know that you leave behind a structure that in a few months time, will be used to the glory of God. You are an incredible man, with an incredible mission. Those of us who have the privilege of getting to spend time with you on Zambian soil are always impacted by your life.
Until next Monday…
On Saturday, while checking up on the young man who was doing some yard work outside of our wall, MJ heard what she thought was the sound of a chirping bird. After further investigation, she discovered that the chirping was actually coming out of the mouth of a very small kitten, and I mean very small.
Within seconds, the chirping kitten was lovingly brought inside the wall to the safety and comfort of two women and a new home. I guess kitty litter and cat food are an indication that MJ and Amber mean business about the adoption on Kopa Street.
I have no idea how a cat thinks, but if I were this one, I would not know what hit me. One minute your home is in tall grass on the side of a road, and the next minute you are being bathed and cuddled in the arms of two Canadian women. One night, you are sleeping outside in the cool air of a Zambian Fall, the next night, you now find yourself cuddled in the warmth of a blanket in a wash basin that is ten times your size. One day you are finding a way to survive, the next day, two Canadian couples are doing everything they can to make sure you are safe, sound and satisfied. What a life!
So here’s the deal. The kitten now lives with its adopted parents, Amber and Evan, and on occasion, comes next door to visit Grandma Mann. Many of our Canadian friends tell us about the joys of grandchildren. The Mann’s don’t have any grandchildren yet, but we have grand cats, two in Canada and now one in Zambia. Try to top that!
By the way, the kitten has a Zambian name, Myemba (which is the short form for chameleon), chosen by its adopted parents. It wasn’t our choice, but hey, we are just the grandparents.
Okay, I know what some of you are thinking – “get a life”. Just to let you know, WE ARE HAVING THE TIME OF OUR LIFE!!!
Until next Monday…
Construction has begun on the new chapel at Trans Africa Theological College, here, in Kitwe. John Cornelius, a great friend of TTC from Canada, is spending seven weeks laying the foundation and supervising the installation of the steel beams.
As I have been watching the progression of the project, I have been reminded of the importance of a solid foundation. There have been untold hours of digging, fabricating of iron rods, and mixing of cement (by hand no less) for the footings and columns of the new chapel. Those who will sit in the chapel, upon its completion, will admire its beauty and be blessed by its function without ever giving thought to its foundation.
Recently, I found a fascinating expression in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet uses the expression, “untempered mortar” (NKJV), in the thirteenth chapter to describe false prophets who lead God’s people astray. He goes on to talk about flimsy walls that are built and covered with “untempered mortar” and warns that rain will come in torrents, hailstones will come hurtling down, and violent winds will burst forth. “When the wall collapses, will people not ask you, ‘Where is the untempered mortar you covered it with…I will tear down the wall you have covered with untempered mortar and will level it to the ground so that its foundation will be laid bare. When it falls, you will be destroyed in it; and you will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 13:10-14)
The word untempered means not properly moistened or mixed. In construction, contractors have been known to take shortcuts in an effort to save time or money. After all, no one sees what is below the ground so it is a good place to cut some corners. In the church, sometimes we have been known to take shortcuts in the spiritual process. We all want the blessings of God without paying the price of the process (sometimes a messy process). In either situation, the outcome is disastrous. When the rain, hail and wind comes, and it will, the flimsy walls will fall and the foundation will be laid bare.
Here in Zambia, we know all about the rainy season. When it rains, and believe me it rains, you want to make sure your house is built on a firm foundation, because if it isn’t, your house will wash away. As I have watched the construction of the chapel at TTC, I can assure you that it will be built on a solid foundation!!
Let me remind you that you will experience torrential rains, hurtling hailstones, and bursting winds in your spiritual journey. Make sure that you have a proper mix of the Word of God, prayer, and spiritual health so that the walls of your spiritual house will withstand the storms of life.
I am also reminded of why RTC exists. With God’s help, RTC will continue to teach and model a proper mix of spiritual mortar in the church so that its walls will stand strong in an age when spiritual foundations are being tested by every rain, hail and wind of false doctrine that is blowing, hurtling and bursting forth with vengeance across the world.
Until next Monday…
One of my childhood memories includes a man by the name of Don Feltmate, who recently went to be with the Lord. A short man with a powerful voice, he was our family pastor in Moncton, New Brunswick for one year.
Even though I was only seven, I can still remember his dynamic preaching. The story is told of a time he spoke at a Sunday School convention in Montreal, Evangel (our former church). Back then, Evangel had a massive pulpit (and I mean massive). Don Feltmate was so short that they had to get a wooden coke case for him to stand on so that he could be seen behind the pulpit. It was through that man that I first learned of the saying: “Big things come in small packages”.
Yesterday, I was with the female, Zambian version of Don Feltmate. MJ and I first met Pastor Ruth Mwenge, at one of our first RTC conferences, here in Zambia. She has been a faithful attendee ever since.
Her church called “Steams of Water”, situated in a mining community outside of Mufulira, Zambia, celebrated its sixth anniversary yesterday. They have purchased the plot of land that you see pictured in this blog. A temporary structure has been erected until they are able to start building a permanent one. A roof made of plastic bags, a dirt floor, and crude benches made of rough cuttings from a saw mill, provide a place for people to sit. Yet, Streams of Water is filled with children, youth, and a number of adults. In a community gripped by alcohol and prostitution, a giant of a woman is making a difference in the next generation of Zambians.
Pastor Ruth shared with me the difficulties and trials of the past six years. She said, “Pastor Don, I have had to learn to be strong, and I am willing to stand up to anything”. What keeps her going are the needs of the community and the potential of reaching a young generation for Kingdom purposes.
What a thrill yesterday to see many children and youth raise their hand to accept Jesus as their personal Savior. It was an even greater thrill to turn the service over to Pastor Ruth and have her lead them through a salvation prayer in the Bemba language.
Ruth Mwenge may be short in stature, but she is a spiritual giant! Thank you Pastor Ruth for reminding me that “big things still come in small packages”!
Until next Monday…
Here in Zambia, traffic violations are known as “Admissions of Guilt”. In thirty seven years of driving, I can count on less than one hand the number of speeding tickets I have had in Canada. After three years of driving in Zambia I have no less than seven Admissions of Guilt, and now MJ is starting to catch up to me. It is not hard to be guilty when you can be pulled for exceeding the speed limit by one kilometre, or crossing a solid line that you cannot see because the paint is worn off.
This past Thursday, I had the privilege of speaking to a group of off duty police officers in Chipata, Zambia. A graduate of Trans Africa Theological College is the Police Chaplain there. I was able to tell the officers that I am a huge contributor to the Zambia Police department because of my multiple “Admissions of Guilt”.
Early that morning, as I prepared for my talk, I was asking God what He would want me to say to such a group of community influencers. Just twenty four hours away from Good Friday, I kept thinking of Jesus final words on the Cross, “It is finished”. I felt impressed to talk to the officers about “finishing well”.
I began by talking about some of those in the Bible who started well, but did not finish well. Saul, anointed as King of Israel, allowed jealousy of a young man by the name of David, to destroy his kingship. Korah, a natural leader whose ability to influence people, caused him to stir up a rebellion against Moses. Judas, one of the original twelve disciples, allowed the greed for money to ultimately cause him to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. These men started well, but they failed to finish well!
There is one Man who has withstood the test of time. He is the most influential leader of all time. His name is recognized around the world and no one to this day has ever surpassed His influence. That is why He is loved by millions and hated by many. His name is JESUS and He finished well!
Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking on the very nature of a servant. Being made in human likeness, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a Cross! (Philippians 2:6-8).
In the final moments of Christ’s life, as He hung on the Cross, knowing that all was now completed, and so that Scriptures would be fulfilled, Jesus said: “It is finished”. With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:28-30). Jesus finished well!
I have an “Admissions of Guilt” file in my filing cabinet at home, and trust me, it is getting thicker. Every time I open the drawer and place the next “admission” in it, I am reminded that all of us were born with such a file because all of us were born in sin. Jesus finished well and completed His mission on earth so that our “guilt” file could be wiped clean.
When I asked the officers last Thursday if they would be willing to ask Jesus to remove their “admission of guilt”, four raised their hand and responded to the forgiveness of Jesus! Although it does not justify my growing file at home, all the “admissions of guilt” are worth it to see police officers come to Christ.
Until next Monday…
I leave for Chipata, Zambia today with John Kerr and Victor Chanda. Over the next two days, we will pour into pastors and church leaders on the topic of “Current Trends in Pentecostalism”. Your prayers would be greatly appreciated.
During the week, I will keep you updated on FB and Twitter.
Yesterday, MJ and I were in a church in the mining town of Mufulira. This is a community where alcohol and prostitution is rampant. As a matter of fact, I competed with the noise coming from the local bar located just beside the church. I was captured by the number of young people in the church and their heart for worship. God, protect the youth of Zambia. May the church love them into the Kingdom before alcohol and prostitution lures them to a promiscuous lifestyle.
Until next time…
Hundreds of miles and multiple modes of transportation, in three different provinces of Zambia, have allowed RTC to minister to five hundred and twenty-six pastors and church leaders over the last two weeks.
I am grateful for an incredible team of presenters who gave such positive insights into the timely and important subject of mentoring in Zambia. Brian Rutten and Mamusha Fenta from Ethiopia modeled mentorship through their relationship that has spanned 21 years. Harrison Sakala and I spoke into the life of Zambian pastors and leaders about the importance of positive, healthy mentoring relationships in this great country.
The bulk of the teaching can be summed up in these few words. Mentoring is not so much about succession as it is a process. We tend to mentor people in the hopes that they will succeed us in ministry some day. True mentorship is based on natural relationships that allow us to learn from one another over a process of time.
One of the highlights at each conference was what we called “Insaka” sessions. Insaka, in the Bemba language, is a village custom where elders gather the people intergenerationally under a tree for a time of teaching, sharing together and learning from one another. Our “insaka” sessions allowed for incredible times of interaction with the presenters, as well as district and national leaders who had gathered.
Then there were the altar responses. These times included everything from intergenerational prayer circles to the entire conference delegation surrounding the sanctuary and praying for the nation of Zambia!
Next week, John Kerr, Victor Chanda and I travel to the Eastern Province. For two days we will conduct a conference called “Current Trends in Pentecostalism”.
Over the next three months, RTC will participate in leadership development in South Africa, Congo and Kenya. I once again want to thank all of our supporters who make it possible for MJ and me to fulfill the role that we feel so strongly connected to. Sound Biblical leadership principles that are poured into leaders will strengthen the church for greater spiritual impact in the days ahead. Thank you for your financial and prayerful support!
Until next time…
Mentoring a Generation…
Our RTC “Mentoring a Generation” conferences are in full swing.
Today was a travel day from Mpika to Mansa, Zambia. The team had the privilege of driving the five hour journey with the newly elected leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God Zambia (PAOGZ), Robertson Nonde.
Tomorrow, we begin another two day conference, where we will present mentoring, not as a structured program, but as a natural outflow of relationships.
God has put an incredible team of presenters together. Brian Rutten and Mamusha Fenta from Ethiopia are sharing about the multiplication that is happening in their country through healthy mentoring relationships. Harrison Sakala, the former leader of the PAOGZ and myself, are challenging Zambian pastors and leaders to develop positive mentoring relationships that are unique to this country.
Here is what a few pastors and leaders said about the conference in Mpika:
“Mentoring is something I usually come across in my reading, but this time round it has been taught in the best way possible.”
“It has been a very informative and nourishing (in the Spirit) conference. I have learned how I can be a good father and mentor.”
“The conference has taught us to move a step further in terms of unity, love and harmony in our local churches.”
“The Mentoring a Generation conference has been an eye opening conference on the importance of relationships amongst leaders…God bless you for this wonderful topic.”
I wish you could have been with me as over 225 leaders joined hands in a circle at the close of our Mpika conference praying for generational unity in Zambia. It makes everything we do here on the Continent worth it when you see people praying for their nation.
Next Monday, I will give a full report of all three conferences. Don’t forget that you can follow the events as they unfold this week on FB or check out my Twitter account @dcmann50.
Until next Monday…
Don (from Mansa, Zambia)