Due to the very serious illness of my younger sister, Irene, I cancelled my recent preaching trip to the USA and Brazil so that I could be around for her. That meant that I now had three free Sundays in a row. I decided to use them to visit our church-plants around Lusaka. Yesterday, I went to Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Church, situated in a fairly well to do area with 5 acre plots of land. I was greatly encouraged by what I found there.
|The banner outside the school premises with the church details|
Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Church started as an outreach work to the boys at the Old MacDonald’s Farm. Don and Christine MacDonald came to Zambia in 2001 and bought their farm in 2006 in their quest to foster street boys. Don is an accountant working in business, while Christine is a gynaecologist. For more on them and their children’s home, visit their website (www.omfzambia.com/index.html). As a church, we came alongside them by having church services on their farm. Every Sunday, a number of our members would drive there and conduct these services in their home. In due season, one of our deacons, Kasango Kayombo (who is also doing ministerial training), took up leadership of these Sunday services and became the regular preacher there.
With time, Don and Christine suggested that we seriously consider starting a church so that the people in the neighbourhood could also benefit from the sound preaching of God’s Word. We took long to take up this challenge though the services continued in their home. A blanket visitation was done in the area by a number of our church members, which resulted in a few more people beginning to attend the services.
|Emmanuel Mkandawire leading the worship service|
It soon became evident that the services needed to be held in a more “neutral” place so that people did not feel that they were simply going to someone’s home for church. Thus a serious search commenced and at the end of 2010 we were offered the use of a classroom at the Lusaka East School for the services. Thus on March 6, we finally officially launched the Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Church. We encouraged our members who live in Ibex Hill and in the surrounding residential areas (from Kabulonga, all the way to Avondale) to have their morning services there. From the very beginning, the attendance was too big for the classroom; hence a white tent is now used for the meetings. The regular attendance has since grown to about 100 children and adults.
Emmanuel Mkandawire led the worship service. It was good to notice the combination of English and Nyanja hymns, to cater for the wide breadth of people in attendance. Although the average person in attendance is conversant in English, there are a number of farm workers who also attend the services—hence the need for two languages. Even the preacher interspersed his preaching with Bemba.
|"Pastor" Kasango Kayombo preaching the everlasting gospel|
In this sermon, “Pastor” Kayombo showed how Jesus welcomes sinners through the gospel of light. Jesus is referred to as the light of the world and this light comes to us today through the preaching of the gospel. He showed how we all resist this light upon first being exposed to it, but in due season the Holy Spirit prevails over our stubborn wills. He emphasised the fact that the coming of missionaries, preachers, and even personal evangelists to share the gospel with us is a direct work of Christ in his quest to bring us to himself. Our right response to all this must be heartfelt repentance and faith in him who has loved us so much despite our sin.
|Kasango greeting the congregation at the end of the worship service|
We closed the service by singing the hymn, “Jesus, my Lord, to Thee I cry,” which is a very fitting gospel hymn. It was a glorious service. I was particularly glad that the gospel was preached with all the affections of the Saviour fully displayed.
Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Church has just begun. The MacDonalds have offered to subdivide their farm so that part of it could belong to the church. All we need now are funds to put up the church building. I suspect that the Lord has also already given us a pastor for the church, but since I am not a prophet we must leave matters there for now. I pray that over the coming years, Ibex Hill Reformed Baptist Church will grow and continue to shed forth the light of the gospel for the salvation of sinners in Ibex Hill and in the regions beyond. Amen!