Felistas and I were on a few days holiday and decided to spend the days visiting friends and relations on the Copperbelt. We spent two days in Kabwe (not yet on the Copperbelt!), two days in Ndola, a day in Mufulira, two days in Kitwe, and two days in Chingola, before returning to Lusaka. In each town, among the many things we wanted to achieve, we also wanted to know how the Reformed Baptist churches were doing. So, although we visited many friends and relatives who belonged to other churches and were briefed about the Lord’s dealings with them, in this blog I want to list for your prayers what we found among the Reformed Baptists.
Bethel Baptist Church (Pastor Lawrence Lama): After being without a pastor for umpteen years, the church called Pastor Lama a few months ago. So, we found an atmosphere of excitement and expectation. The elders were glad that they did not have to share the pulpit among themselves any more. But more than that, Kabwe is slowly turning into a university town. The Mulungushi University has just halved its fees and so should have an influx of new students. Kwame Nkrumah Teacher Training College has also been turned into a university. This has brought a new lease of life into the church, as new lecturers and students come into town. Pray that the church will rise to the challenge and develop ministries that will truly reach out to these men and women that are coming into town. Already we heard announcements being made about changes to take place come January 2010, which are calculated to ensure that their sails catch much of the blowing wind.
Grace Reformed Baptist Church (Pastor Maybin Kabwe): The church has known growth in attendance to a point where their small auxiliary building is now being filled to capacity. This is indeed exciting. They need to raise a lot of funds to finish off the main auditorium so that they can sit the growing congregation more comfortably for worship. Their hosting of the Copperbelt Ministerial College has brought dividends. A few Charismatic pastors who are training there have seen the error of their beliefs and now want to teach the Reformed Faith to their congregations. This is also resulting in one or two new church plants in areas they never thought about. As the congregation and the general work grow, there is need for more elders in the church. Pray that faithful and available, Spirit-filled men may be found to take up this challenge of a growing work.
Fairview Reformed Baptist Church (Pastor Emmanuel Sakala): Our missionary pastor, Kapambwe Nsenduluka, finally handed over this church to Emmanuel Sakala, who has just moved with his family to Mufulira this month. There is an air of excitement and anticipation in the church because they finally have their own pastor after a number of years. With this excitement is the realisation of the price of looking after a pastor in the difficult economic times the town is going through. Thankfully, Mufulo Ngandwe, the sole elder in the church, did his best to prepare the church for this task and we are confident they will rise to the challenge. Pastor Sakala is already dreaming dreams and wants Fairview RBC to be the springboard for missions outreach into the Luapula Province and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pray that the church will rally behind him in the realisation of these dreams.
Trinity Baptist Church (Pastor Ndonji Kayombo): The excitement in the congregation of the long-time-bachelor-pastor taking on a wife has now died down and everyone has returned to work. For many years, this church has been meeting at a school. This has had its own challenges, especially as they have had to “compete” with shouting and screaming Charismatics in the other classrooms. Despite these challenges, they have completely filled the classroom they presently meet in, and often have to put chairs outside for the overflow. The church acquired a plot of land and has applied to have it changed from a residential plot into a church plot. This is taking aeons! Pray that the approval will be given soon so that they can move into “building phase”. Kitwe is the hub of the Copperbelt, and so a solid work in this town will be a real boost to the Reformed Baptist cause in the province. It will be easier for inter-church activities to be hosted in this central town.
Central Baptist Church (Pastor Choolwe Mwetwa): Here, the excitement in the church was not about a new pastor or a new pastor’s wife, because Pastor Mwetwa has been there for over twenty years and has been married for almost the same period. Rather, it was about the new church-plant in Solwezi. Having worked with Fairview Reformed Baptist Church to plant Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Ndola and Trinity Baptist Church in Kitwe, this church turned its efforts to Chililabombwe and planted the Berean Reformed Baptist Church. Until recently, Emmanuel Sakala was their missionary pastor for that work. Now, a few months ago, they launched the first Reformed Baptist church in the whole North-Western Province. We have waited for this for years, haven’t we? Every weekend, they send out a team of evangelists on Saturday for outreach work, and another team on Sunday to round up students and other invitees for the worship service. The commitment of the brethren to this new work is amazing as they often meet the costs of transport, accommodation and meals from their own pockets. Pray that this zeal will continue unabated, and that before long, there will be a viable Reformed Baptist church in that provincial capital.
So, Felistas and I return to Lusaka very encouraged by the progress of the work on the Copperbelt. It was spiritually refreshing to sense the excitement and anticipation in each congregation. What shall we say in response to this?
SOLI DEO GLORIA!