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!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Christian Business Seminar worth attending!


This blog post should have been written and posted last week, but stress related to my visa wars reduced my mental creative powers to zero. I arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand, a few hours ago and suddenly my mental energies have been restored. So, before I get carried away with preaching among the Kiwis, let me quickly get this post out of the way.

I have some good news for Zambia's Christian business community! Evergreen Christian Bookstore will be hosting a whole day Christian Business Seminar this coming Saturday - 6th October, 2012 - at Dream Valley Lodge. The theme will be "Christians Conducting Business in a Secular World" and the speaker will be Bheki Macwele, from Swaziland.

Bheki Macwele in his office at his liquified petroleum gas (LPG) company
Let me say something about the speaker. I have known Bheki Macwele for many years now and have always been encouraged by his enthusiasm for matters related to the kingdom of God. In fact, initially, I thought he was a pastor! We often met at conferences in South Africa. If I was the one preaching, I'd notice a glow on his face as he listened attentively to my preaching. Discussions around meals would soon show that he not only understood the sermons but was internalising them with great perception.

I noticed that Bheki usually attended conferences in the company of an older man (whom I later discovered to be his church pastor). I also noticed that at the end of each conference Bheki would purchase many of the books that were being sold and haul them back to Swaziland. Who was this man? It was not until I was invited to Swaziland that I got to appreciate who he really was. 

Gas cylinders at Bheki's liquified petroleum gas (LPG) company
There, I discovered that Bheki had been used of the Lord to play a crucial role in the establishment from scratch of Manzini Fellowship Church - a church playing a key role in the preservation of conservative evangelical Christianity in Swaziland (click here). He was one of the church elders there. The books he was hauling were now a massive library in his church. He wanted the young people in his church to be exposed to the best of sound and solid Christian books on the planet. What an investment into Swaziland's spiritual future!

I also discovered that Bheki was an astute Christian businessman. At a time when very few Swazis were in the upper echelons of business, he had risen to chief executive of Swaziland's branch of the multinational oil company, Shell. Having reached the top, he had since retired and taken over one section of Shell's business, which they wanted to dispose of - the selling of gas. He grew this into Swaziland's second largest gas provider. He had also bought two farms and was rearing about 100,000 chickens at a time. In chatting with him, I found that he had his fingers into a number of other smaller businesses. 

Part of the 100,000 chicks being reared at Bheki's chicken farm
All this growth in Bheki's business has been happening while Swaziland has been going through very difficult economic times, as most of you will know. It has also been happening while Bheki has been fully involved in growing a Reformed evangelical church - probably the only one of its kind in Swaziland. May I also add, that all this was happening while Bheki was nursing his first wife who for many years was suffering from a rare medical condition that left her on a wheel chair...until she died in 2004. He has since also lost his first born son. Yet, Bheki's joy is contagious. When you are with him, you would not think he has gone through all this. I've found in Bheki an example of a truly tested and loving husband and father.

It was this exposure that made me immediately conclude, we must get Bheki to Zambia! The Zambian Christian business community needs to be exposed to good role models. We have too many bad examples around us that I would not be surprised if it has now been taken for granted that in Africa you cannot be a business person and a strong Christian at the same time. that is why I am so enthused by the topic he has chosen to address us on - "Christians Conducting Business in a Secular World." We need to learn from men such as Bheki that it is not just possible but that it is incumbent upon us as Christians to do so in a godly way. It is challenging, but it can be done. It will be hard, but the joy we will know in glorifying God in this way will far surpass the pain of the hardships.

The kind of chalets found at Dream Valley Lodge
Dream Valley needs no introduction. It is owned by a Christian couple, the Swilimbas, and we have used it for previous seminars in order to showcase their achievement and to support their business. The Swilimbas have built this business from scratch. They got what was once virgin forest and have turned into an amazing amusement park, conference centre, and lodge. They have really subdued their little corner of the earth. Come and see! We will be the first to use their newly constructed beautiful conference hall. If you are not in business, at least tell those who are to get out to Dream Valley this Saturday. It will truly be a seminar worth remembering for many years to come.

One of the two swimming pools at the Dream Valley Lodge
For details of seminar fees, registration, etc, please contact any of the following: Mrs Kakonde Simbeye (0977156731 or kakonde.simbeye@kabwatabaptistchurch.org), Mrs Kayula Siame (0965717537), or Mr Charles Bota (0977808431 or charles.bota@kabwatabaptistchurch.org).

2 comments:

  1. It was just because of this post i have attended the seminar. Business Order Letter

    ReplyDelete
  2. amazing testimony Pastor. I am afraid living in africa has made me somewhat cynical. so its good to see men actually living for the gospel and making a differnce.

    ReplyDelete