Below is an approximate transcript of Ben Wikner’s brief report to the church this past Sunday. Note: You are invited to hear more about the Zambia trip and the potential for further gospel ministry there at a meeting on Sunday, September 16, at 7 p.m. in the Edwards Room.
Towards the end of July, fourteen of us set off for the nation of Zambia, which sits landlocked in the southern portion of Africa. We spent 12 days away and came back with a love for Africa and the people of Zambia. Zambians are a remarkably polite and gentle people. Their history includes being the place where the famous missionary, David Livingstone, died, being colonized by the British, and in 1996, becoming the only constitutionally Christian nation in the world.
But Zambia is also a nation with many challenges, including a monumental orphan crisis. A full tenth of the population in Zambia are orphaned children. When I first heard this, I did a double take and had to confirm that number. It’s true. HIV/AIDS and social and family breakdown have decimated a generation of Zambians and left over a million parentless children in need of care.
It was this that drew us to Zambia, along with a connection between [church member] Claude Allen and an orphan care ministry in Zambia called Villages of Hope. Claude, on behalf of the foundation that he works for, had identified this ministry as one that exemplifies key values of biblical stewardship, discipleship, mission, and orphan care.
So we set out to learn how this ministry operates, about the orphan crisis and what is being done, and to serve the children and housemothers of the orphan village. What’s cool is that we got to do this with some of our children. The Allens, Mitchells, and the Wikners, along with Dean and Denise Adamek of Rancho 3M all traveled together along with member Mulenga Katyoka, who is a Zambian national.
We had to raise money for the kids. We begged, borrowed and had two huge yard sales. Thank you to all who contributed to this; they were a huge success!
We were deeply enriched by our experience, not only in serving the children (a privilege!), but through learning and experiencing the grace of God in our interactions.
I came back full of gratefulness and eagerness to see the grace of God advance in the people and the church in Zambia. The need for sound doctrine and the equipping of the church was deeply impressed upon my heart.
I agree with David Platt, who writes in his book “Radical Together” that the key to short term mission is a commitment to long term discipleship. We saw a commitment to discipleship in the various ministries we visited. But we also saw great need and opportunity to further this work.
I am praying that we can have an on-going partnership with the gospel mission in Zambia. We don’t know what that will look like, and no concrete plans have been made, but please pray with us that God will direct us and provide for this work.
To find out more about our trip and about Zambia, we want to invite you to a special Zambia missions report meeting to be held on Sunday, September 16, at 7 p.m. in the Edwards Room. Hope you can make it.
Thank you Covenant Life Church for your heart for missions, for orphans, and for the nations. May the Lord help us to be faithful in the call to advance the gospel. May the Lord call and equip some of you to go and to serve in this work.