A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Book That Changed My Life—The Death of Death

My next instalment of “The Book That Changed My Life” is by a friend, Allan Ndambasha, a Zambian who lives with his family in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. He is married to Victoria and together they have two children, a son called Abel (16) and a daughter called Linga (12). Allan works in IT in a local school district and Victoria is a registered nurse. Let us hear about the book that changed Allan’s life!

* * * * *
In 1992, I attended the reformed annual conference that was held in Kitwe, hosted and organized by two congregations of the Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML), namely Kitwe Chapel and Riverside Chapel. As usual, there were a number of books that were distributed free of charge. One of these was a little booklet entitled An Introductory Essay on the Death of Death in the Death of Christ by Dr J I Packer.

Basically, as the title suggests, Dr Packer was trying to encourage Christians to read a very important work by a 17th century writer John Owen called The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. In this book, Owen argues for the doctrine of particular redemption and against universal atonement. The only problem is that the book is a very difficult read and consequently, many people who make an effort to read it soon become discouraged partly because of its archaic language but mostly due to what Dr Packer calls Owen’s lumbering literary gait!

So what Dr Packer does is to try and describe for the readers the immense value of Owen’s work. He does this by contrasting Owen’s understanding of the gospel with the modern mind-set in evangelical Christendom. He uses theologically loaded terms like Arminianism and Calvinism and explains them in a simple but very comprehensive way.

For me the real benefit of this booklet lies in its ability to display that cardinal difference between the authentic gospel and modern day gospel. The modern gospel is so man-centred whereas the authentic one is God-centred. God has used this booklet to foster humility in my own life and I have clearer appreciation of what it means to preach the gospel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Farewell to our 2011 Grade Seven Class

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

Eagle's Nest School Grade Seven Class singing a hymn to the congregation
(PREAMBLE: Let me welcome the 80th follower to this blog. I wish I knew the name but I failed to figure that out. I am technologically challenged! The good news, at least for me, is that we are slowly reaching 100,000 views. I know that is nothing for some blogs because that is their daily readership. I should not despise the days of small things. So, I am watching the counter very closely.)

Every year just before our Grade Seven pupils sit for their final primary school leaving examinations, we hold a special service for them and their parents. The aim of this service is to provide the church with an opportunity to meet with the children and their parents, because 80% of them are not members of our church.

Misheck Kumwenda leading in worship
It is also a good opportunity for the members of the church to meet the teachers because, again, most of the teachers of our church school are not members of Kabwata Baptist Church. They are members of sister churches. Hence, this once-a-year service provides a window of opportunity for all who are involved in the school to meet with the members of the sponsoring church, and vice versa.

In the midst of a secularised society, the provision of Christian education goes a long way to arrest the galloping atheistic horse that has destroyed what once was the Christian West. The foundational truths of God and his world need to be the moorings to which all the disciplines of education are anchored.

Chilambu Filakati doing the Bible Reading
Once the poison of secular education is injected into the primary infrastructure of the worldview of children, it destroys the development of their thinking from that point onwards. Their world remains totally disjointed and ultimately meaningless. It is in order to play a small part in arresting this trend that we have started and developed the Eagles Nest Christian School.

This school is part of the church’s evangelistic efforts and comes under our children’s department. Through the school, we continue to labour hard to introduce children in the neighbourhood to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to a Christian worldview. The school also provides us with a vital interface with many parents in our community. We often use these opportunities for evangelistic purposes.

Mrs Honester Kumwenda, the Headteacher, introducing the school staff
Hence, whereas most Christian schools aim to bring the children of Christian parents under the influence of Christian teaching, when we started this school, we deliberately went into the community to invite those who are not members of our church to bring their children to our school. This is why even now 80% of the children in our school come from non-Christian homes, or at least from homes where the parents or guardians are not members of our church.

It would be difficult to tell how many of these children come to genuine faith in Christ by the time they leave our school at the end of Grade Seven because they do so before they become teens. We have since baptised a number of them later in life. We have no doubt that the time they spend in Eagle's Nest School is used by God to put precious truths in their hearts that later germinate into saving faith.

A parent, Mr Katoto, thanking the church for the ministry of Eagle's Nest School
For me, this farewell service remains special. I have never forgotten how I wept when we had our first farewell service a few years ago. The children had become so precious to me that at one point when I looked into their faces during the worship service the thought of parting with them gripped me with grief. I wept like a baby. I have grown up now and do not cry any more. However, my prayer continues to be that God will claim these young souls for his own in due season, so that, if we do not ever meet on this side of eternity, we will do so in heaven. Amen!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Book that changed my Life—Holiness

This week’s blog post on “The Book that changed my life” is from a lady. Her name is Charity Mwenya. She is married to Wilfred and the Lord has blessed them with 3 boys; Mubanga aged 17, Chibuye aged 11, and Mutale aged 5 years. She enjoys cooking and gardening. She is a banker by profession and is currently working for Bank of Zambia. She is a member of Kabwata Baptist Church where she serves in two ministries; namely, the Conference Ministry and the Ladies Ministry. Let us now hear about the book that changed her life…

* * * * *

Bishop J C Ryle
When I became a Christian in the late 1980s, the subject of Holiness brought a lot of expectations in my mind. I perceived holiness as a state of completeness and perfection.  I was expecting that my life would change in such a way that I will be a perfect being, free from sin or any struggles with sin. It was not long before reality dawned on me that I was far from perfect.  I was sad and confused. “Can anyone ever live a holy Life?” When I visited a couple and saw a book entitled Holiness by Bishop J C Ryle on their bookshelf, I didn’t hesitate to borrow it.

Reading the book changed my view of holiness completely. Firstly it made me realise that I had a wrong view of holiness. Whilst it is true that Christians will finally be made perfect, it is not true that they attain that state immediately they become Christians. That is not to say that they live a life in perpetual sin, because doing so is a sure indicator of not being Christians.  Rather, the book explains that holiness is living a life that makes every effort to shun every known sin, striving to be more like our Lord Jesus Christ, and being of one mind with God.

Further, I learnt that holiness is not stagnant but progressive. A person who lives a holy life will know growth in their love for God and hatred for sin. This will be evidenced by increased humility, as they learn more of God’s character; and increased zeal and diligence in doing good in service to God. This, I learnt, will not come automatically but requires a deliberate, consistent, and diligent effort in spending time in prayer, in studying and meditating on God’s word, and in self examination.

I also learnt that the journey of holiness is not always smooth. There are many sorrows, troubles, temptations, and trials. I have weaknesses; but I have a Saviour who is both God and Man, the ‘Ruler of the waves’, who sympathises with me and intercedes for me. This brought courage and comfort, and it helped me to look forward to living each day as it comes; with its own challenges and blessings.

The simplicity and practicality of the book made reading easy and yet gave me rich instructions and   inspiration for living the Christian life. It helped me appreciate that life here on earth is a preparation for life in heaven. So if I am going to dwell with a holy God eternally then I need to live a holy life now.

Whilst I was looking for a book that will tell me how to attain perfection, what I got was a book that challenged to a lifelong journey of progressively seeking God, living a life of self denial, loving God and hating what He hates, and being dependent on Him to lead me to final perfection.

Thus Holiness is the book that changed my life!!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

From cameramen and callboys, Lord, deliver us!

“Remind the people to…avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2).

They say confession is good for the soul. There are times when I feel like pulling out my hair (or even punching someone in the face) and it takes a lot of grace and a lot of talking to myself not to do so. In this blog post, I want to confess two such situations.

The cameramen
The first is when cameramen pursue me for photos that I am not interested in. I do not mind them taking the photos if they are going to keep them. But that is not what I am talking about. Often, this takes place at special functions—like weddings or conferences.

These cameramen are like sniffer dogs. They know exactly where some public function is going to be and they are there taking photos of you as you come out of your car (as was the case with the photo on the left), as you walk to the building where the function is going to be, as you enter the building, as you sit and talk with friends, as you get your food, as you eat, etc. I find them to be quite a distraction and a disturbance. But that is not what drives me up the wall.

Within an hour, they are usually back with the photos and then they start pestering you to pay an arm and a leg for them. This is where I feel like pulling out my hair, to put it mildly. I did not ask anyone to take a picture of me in the first place, so why should I pay four to five times what I would have paid if I had taken the same photo from my own camera? Again, if only they can take “No” for an answer, I would not mind. But they keep coming back, putting the photos right in front of my nose on the table and seeking to persuade me to pay. They even start suggesting that they can lower the price as if the issue is that I cannot afford to pay what they are asking for. For me, the issue is that I am being cajoled into paying for something I did not ask for in the first place.

The time I concluded I needed to write a blog post about this was when I was entering a conference and I had my camera with me. The cameraman at the door asked me to slow down as I was going in and said he wanted to take a picture of me. I showed him my own camera and told him that if I really wanted a shot I would get someone to take one of me using my camera. Well, as I was showing him my camera, he still took a shot of me. An hour later, he came where I was and started cajoling me to buy the photo where I was pointing to my own camera. Aagh! May the Lord deliver us from these pests!

The callboys
And then there are the callboys. For the sake of my readers who live in the developed West, callboys here in Africa are usually young men in their teens and into their twenties, who are jobless and so make some money by calling passengers to get onto buses at bus stations.  Since I own a car, I rarely travel by bus. But once in a while I have to, and man, these callboys drive me up the wall!

Callboys racing to a car that is arriving at a bus station
As soon as the car slows down to enter the bus station, they come running and swarm around the car, talking to every passenger, asking where you are going, and pointing to buses that are going in various routes. As the car stops and you get your bag, they start fighting each other to carry your bag for you. In the meantime, if you make the mistake of telling them where you are going, whoever has won possession of your bag immediately takes you to the bus where he has been promised money if he can bring some passengers.

What is wrong with that? Well, in the first place, their interest is never in your safety or comfort. They rarely take you to a good bus that is about to start off. Often, you end up in a bus looking full, but it is actually empty. The other “passengers” are dummies. They are also callboys who begin to slip out one-by-one as other passengers are lured into what is actually an empty bus. This kind of deception really irks me!

On the other hand, if you do not follow them, they continue pestering you to no end. This is where they drive me crazy. The time I decided I needed to write a blog post on this was when I was dropping off a daughter who was going out of town to university. I held on to her bags while she searched around the bus station looking for the best possible bus to use. All the time she was gone, this callboy kept trying to convince me to let him carry the bags to a particular bus. His pleas turned into whining and he began to sound like a pesky mosquito in my ears.

Callboys swarming a car at a bus station
Finally, I looked him straight in the eyes and said with a sharp and firm voice, “Hey, please shut up and get away from here!” It was the kind of voice that makes a dog coil its tail between its legs and run away. His response was, “Eh, mudala [sir], what’s your problem? I’m trying to help you and you are talking to me like that. Are you mad?” My adrenalin hit dangerous levels. He still stood there, but kept looking everywhere else except at me. After a while he left. I said in my heart, “May the Lord deliver us from these pests!”

A call for courtesy
I have no doubt that both the cameramen and the callboys mean well. I also know that they are just trying to make a living. Times are tough in Africa and people have to be very creative in order to put bread on their tables and clothes on their backs. Yet, what I am asking for is basic courtesy. I also sweat for my money. I want anyone who wants some of it to get it out of me properly—with civility. That is all I am asking for. Deceiving me and then pestering me afterwards is wrong, whichever way one looks at it. These cameramen and callboys want to get my money the way in which mosquitoes invade my home at night and get my blood!

Postscript: I think that we Christians can also learn a lesson from this in our evangelistic work. Whereas we should be zealous in sharing the gospel with all those who are around us, we should not become obnoxious in the process of doing so. I know of Christians who simply tirade non-Christians with warnings about hell and call that evangelism. That is loathsome! The Bible says, “Remind the people to…avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people” (Titus 3:1-2). We should be winsome in the way we share the best news in the universe.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Book that Changed My Life—Manly Dominion

My third instalment of “The Book that changed my life” is from Johnson Jilowa Malipenga (49). He is a sales manager at Dana Holdings and a member of Emmasdale Baptist Church. Johnson holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Zambia and is currently working on his research and dissertation for the Master of Arts degree at the same university. He is married to the wife of his youth, Agness, and fathers their four daughters and one son whose ages stretch from 5 to 19. He majors in pioneer church-planting work, is an accomplished lay preacher and Bible Teacher. He also loves reading, the countryside, game viewing and hunting, farming, and jogging. Let us hear about the book that changed his life…

* * * * *

In May of 2006, I had an opportunity to attend an international Christian conference in South Africa. The name of the conference is The Shepherds Conference, hosted by the Grace Community Churches in South Africa. While there I had a privilege of lodging at the home of a Zambian minister of the gospel and pastor of Lynwood Baptist Church—Ronald Mumba Kalifungwa. On a Saturday morning after the conference, Ronald Kalifungwa invited me to accompany him to one of their church meetings and that morning it was a men’s breakfast. The meeting was meant to be an occasion for men in the church to have sometime of fellowship around a breakfast meal. It happened that they were going through a book entitled Manly Dominion by Mark Chanski, an American Reformed Baptist pastor. Before flying back home to Zambia, he took time to take me round some Christian bookstores in Pretoria. One such bookstore was the Augustine Book Room where I bought Mark Chanski’s book Manly Dominion without hesitation.

The book is largely based on Genesis1:27-28. The author raises a clarion call on men to biblical image-bearing convictions in all matters of life. He calls men to subdue in all areas of God given responsibilities to the glory of God and for the benefit of society. The book is a timely reminder to us to live in accordance with the scriptural commission our Almighty Maker gave us in the beginning of time.

The book strengthened and confirmed my biblical convictions. It helped remove cobwebs and solidified my doctrinal moorings. The author helped straighten up my Christian worldview by seeing everything in the light of what the Bible had to say (Sola Scriptura, Sola Tota). It helped me firm up on the need for bold actions, bold convictions, and bold endeavours, by retraining my mind in biblical manhood.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I have just returned from preaching at a pastors’ retreat. On one of the days I had to deal with the issue of false prophets and teachers. Whereas previously I would have had in mind the major Christian cults (e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses), this time at the back of my mind was the extreme Charismatic “deliverance” movement. I saw this as a greater danger to evangelicalism because it is a Trojan horse.

During our discussion time it became apparent that I was correct. Although while I was teaching I did not mention the Charismatic “deliverance” movement, almost all the questions were related to this phenomenon. It is a common vice.

The loss of the gospel
My chief concern about this movement is the loss of the gospel. In my personal evangelism I often come across individuals who are members of these churches and all their talk is about perceived miracles and deliverance but never about repentance and personal faith in Jesus Christ. There is something definitely wrong with that.

The regular content of preaching on TV confirms this. I never hear a straightforward sermon on the death of Christ as God’s atoning sacrifice for our sins. I never hear preachers calling hearers to repentance and faith in Christ. Rather, whatever passage the preacher is dealing with, he soon makes a beeline to felt needs (barrenness, lack of or infidelity in a spouse, a “curse” in your wider family, lack of employment, etc) and then appeals for any individuals going through this to “believe” as he—the preacher—is about to pray for them.

The consequences of the loss of the gospel have been disastrous. Churches are filled with happy-clappy people whose lives are whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones. This must be obvious. The gospel alone changes people’s hearts. Once you lose it, you will have the crowds but without sanctified hearts. Their religion becomes a thin veneer that covers unbridled sinful passions. In the end, those who know the truth about the scandals and the skeletons in the wardrobes of church-going people blaspheme the Lord’s name. It is terrible!

The loss of worship services
In most cases, the deliverance supposedly takes place as the preacher is praying. This is not just a TV phenomenon. It is now the highpoint during church services. After all the singing and dancing, there is a sermon. It amounts to something like, “So-and-so came to Jesus or Paul for deliverance, this is your day to also be delivered. Just believe.” Then the invitation is made for those with any needs to come to the front for the deliverance.

There is no doubt that this draws the crowds. However, it is not because there are any miracles taking place. Far from it! It is because of the phenomenon of people falling down and writhing on the ground. It is precisely the same kind of phenomenon that draws crowds to the local witchdoctor. There is only one difference. We are supposed to believe that it is the devil who does these things at the witchdoctor’s den but it is God who is doing it at the “deliverance” church.

My quarrel is with turning a worship service into a deliverance session. Every Sunday ends with people coming to the front to get their “deliverance”. Is this what was happening in the days of Jesus or that of the apostles? Even a casual reading of the book of Acts does not give me that impression. It is clear that worship services were for singing and prayers going up to God, and the Word of God being preached for the salvation and sanctification of the people. After which they went home to think about and apply what they had heard.

The loss of the priesthood of all believers
When I question all this, I sometimes get accused of not believing in a God who can do the miraculous today. That is not the point. My quarrel is with the “man of God” phenomenon that is utterly unbiblical. It steals away from the priesthood of all believers and reduces it to the priesthood of “the man of God” who seems to have powers that ordinary Christians do not have. Hence, his prayers (and those of his wife) are anointed while the prayers of ordinary John and Mary are not.

In the Bible, the phrase “man of God” was applied to prophets (as vehicles of God’s self-revelation) and not to priests (as miracle workers).  Granted, some of these men of God (like Moses) were also miracle workers but that was not the essence of this phrase.  Hence, you find men like David being referred to as men of God (see 2 Chronicles 8:14) but they never performed a single miracle. Thus Paul was also able to apply it to Timothy in the New Testament (see 1 Timothy 6:11) and as far as we know no single miracle was performed by Timothy.

This answers the question that I was asked at the pastors’ retreat: “What if, while I am preaching, some demons manifest in an individual?” My answer is simple. Ask a few mature Christians in the church service to carry that person out to another room so that they can pray for him and continue with your sermon.

Why keep everyone waiting for the next hour or two while pandemonium breaks out in front of the pulpit? There are no special powers in the prayer of the preacher, which ordinary Christians do not have in their prayers. It is the prayers of a righteous man that avail much and not the prayers of some anointed “man of God”. In fact, from the scandals filling up our history books, we are learning again and again that the so-called “men of God” are often not even righteous.

We need to arrest this trend
I am very concerned about the “false prophets and teachers” of our day, who have come into evangelicalism through the back door. As I said earlier, this is a Trojan horse. The loss of the gospel, the loss of worship services, and the loss of the priesthood of all believers is a matter of grave concern. If we do not arrest this trend there will soon be serious animism and syncretism in the church, until there will be no difference between what takes place in the witchdoctor’s den in the village and what is taking place in church. God forbid that it should be so!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Book That Changed My Life—The Sovereignty Of God

This week’s blog post on “The Book That Changed My Life” is from a lady. Her name is Sylvia Kalenga. She used to be a member of Kabwata Baptist Church in the early part of my ministry and so this testimony is from those early years. Sylvia is now a lecturer by profession working in Tsabong, Botswana. A single-mother with two sons, aged 22 and 20 years. Both of them have now completed secondary education. She always expresses gratitude for this. To borrow her own words, “I remain greatly indebted to God for his love and grace in bringing up these boys, with the unwavering love and support of my family.” Sylvia is currently in an Assemblies of God church and actively serves in the women’s ministry there. Well, here is her story…

* * * * *
If I were to be asked to write about a hymn that changed my life it would be “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform…” by William Cowper. As for the book that changed my life, it certainly is The Sovereignty of God by A W Pink.

1992 was not a good year for me. Having lost one of my twins and a few months later, separated from my husband, the reality of a loving God, permitting what I was going through, was hard to digest. Thankfully, during this period when I was asking the why’s and why me, I moved into the home of Pastor Mbewe and stayed with the family for a year. I profited a lot from their life and counsel and equally from many books in the home library; but one book to-date stands out and it is The Sovereignty of God by A W Pink.

The author seeks to show that God has dominion over his creation. In other words He controls all things according to His good pleasure and that nothing happens without God knowing or directing it. The latter immediately raises the charge that such a teaching is a horrible calumny upon God but as you delve into the book you discover that, on the contrary, it magnifies God’s grace, ascribes all glory to Him and removes every ground of boasting from the creature.  He shows that the one who is Governor over the nations and who has ordained and now regulates all events, is infinite not only in power but in wisdom and goodness as well.

He also shows that salvation is of God in its origination, in its operation and in its consummation. Yet, the balance of God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility is maintained in the book as the two are not contradictory but complimentary and must be set in their proper proportion. Thus, instead of hindering the development of Christian character, an appreciation of God’s sovereignty causes the Christian to press on towards the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. For instance, whilst Jesus declares that no sheep can perish, the Christian is exhorted to make his calling and election sure. 

Reading through this book, not only melted my heart and deepened my adoration of God but also magnified His grace to me, a sinner. It exposed my utter helplessness and hopelessness outside Christ and increased my faith in a never-failing God, who is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. It helped me to rest on his abiding power and grace with full assurance that in all things God works for my good. It gave me a sense of confidence and absolute security that no evil would befall me without God permitting it. It brought great comfort and provided much peace to my soul to know that there is no corner that God cannot reach because He is everywhere and that there is no situation that He does not know about because His omnipotent hand is upon everyone and everything. It was gratifying to know that my affliction did not come by chance but was ordered by God and that through it He was working out something for my good. It was overwhelming to know that God is too wise to err and too loving to cause me a needless tear. Bowing before the Sovereign will of God brought a great sense of peace and happiness in my soul. It moved me from self-pity and got me actively involved in the church again.

Hence I can now confidently say by the grace of God I am what I am!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Preaching to Christians in the Military in Swaziland

“They shall be like mighty men in battle, trampling the foe in the mud of the streets; they shall fight because the LORD is with them, and they shall put to shame the riders on horses” (Zechariah 10:5).

Peter Louwrens, the chief organiser of the AMCF conference
My preaching ministry takes me to many places and this time I was preaching at the 4th Africa South Association of Military Christian Fellowships (AMCF) Conference. It was held in Manzini, in the Kingdom of Swaziland, from Monday 26th to Friday 30th September 2011. The mission of the AMCF is “to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to all the military men and women of the world.” The theme of their southern Africa regional conference was “Being Passionate for God’s Glory” from Psalm 29:1-2. It was heart warming to meet men and women in uniform who love the Lord and want him to be glorified.

Major General Jeffrey S Tshabalala officially opening the conference
The Deputy Army Commander of Swaziland, Major General Jeffrey S Tshabalala, officially opened the conference. The president of the worldwide AMCF, General Lee, was also in attendance. It was good to see the officers in full ceremonial uniforms. Their shoes were so well polished that I could almost see my face in them! It was also good to see all the salutes that were being given to those of higher ranks. This was a very strange sight for those of us who only worship in the context where there are no ranks.

General Lee, from Korea, the president of the worldwide AMCF
The conferences comprised sermons, seminars, and reports from various countries.  As the main speaker, I preached five sermons, on (a) Knowing the God of heaven, (b) Loving the God of heaven, (c) Worshipping the God of heaven, (d) Serving the God of heaven, and (e) Conforming to the God of heaven.

Rev A M C Dlamini, my co-preacher at the conference
The other preacher was Rev A M C Dlamini, senior pastor of International Tabernacle Church. I missed his first session when he preached from Hebrews on intimacy with God. In his second sermon, he preached from Exodus 33:18 where Moses said to God, “Please show me your glory.” He preached on desperation for God’s glory.  Due to “public demand” he was squeezed into the programme on the third day, and so he spoke from Acts 10 (on Cornelius) about divine intimacy and intervention.  Rev Dlamini was evidently no small preacher like me because cameramen always arrived some 30 minutes before he arrived and set up their equipment to record his preaching. I suspect he is on TV in Swaziland regularly.

"Yours truly" among the men and women in uniform during a group photo
Listening to the reports from various countries, it was clear that in some of them there was tension between military chaplains and the AMCFs, but it was evident that everyone was hoping that in due season good relations would be restored. Also, in some countries the AMCFs were not yet in place, in others the AMCFs were weak, while in others they were fully formed and robust.

Various types of handmade candles at the Swazi candles factory and shop
On one afternoon we went on a tour of three tourist destinations. The first was a factory that produces beautiful hand-made candles. The second was a cultural village where we were taken around a village homestead and given a talk on how life was in an average Swazi village, and then we watched a cultural dancing group. Finally we went to a crafts shopping centre where a number of us parted with good money buying souvenirs for home. I often tell people that travelling is expensive business—and souvenirs are part of the problem!

Traditional dancers showing us how it is done in Swazi villages
I missed the Zambian delegation at the AMCF conference. I was told that they were expecting 12 from Zambia. My guess is that with the change of government in the country only the previous week they were probably very involved in organising various spiritual activities around the country. I trust that those who were present returned to their countries with renewed zeal to serve the God of glory among the men and women in uniform. After all, as Zechariah says, war is won when the Lord is with you!