Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Finishing Up in Zambia...On to Asia!

Greetings from Lusaka, Zambia!

I'm finishing up the work here in Zambia. I've spent the past two weeks here visiting the three districts of the CLC-Zambia.

Leaving Africa (Zambia and Tanzania this time) is always hard to do. There's so much to be done and such amazing people to work together with in our Savior's kingdom.

These past 4 1/2 weeks have gone by quickly. Now I'm on my way to work with brothers and sisters in Christ in Myanmar, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Over the next few days I will fly from Livingstone to Lusaka to Nairobi to Bangkok to Yangon to Kalaymyo, Myanmar.

While in Zambia, I also had the opportunity to meet with Pastor Yumba from the D.R. Congo (DRC). Due to a variety of reasons beyond our control, the last missionary visit to DRC was in January 2012. I had planned to visit in early 2017, shortly after beginning this new role as a visiting missionary, but my visa application was denied by the DRC embassy in the U.S. In 2018, I was told by Pastor Yumba that the local government would not provide the official notarized stamp of approval for his letter of invitation, so I did not bother to apply as a government notarized approved letter of invitation is required. Pastor Yumba was able to get a letter of invitation approved and notarized and delivered to me, so I will begin making plans for a visit in the fall of 2019.

The DRC was scheduled to have its first free and open elections since the first election was held at the time of independence in 1960. The history of leadership in the DRC is one of assassinations, military coups, and rigged elections for the past fifty years. As you can imagine, all of this brought a lot of turmoil and uncertainty to the nation over the past couple of years leading up to the elections. Elections were delayed several times and there was even an attempt to cancel the elections again by the dictator Joseph Kabila. Elections were finally held in December, but the results have been contested. During the lead up to the elections and following the elections there were protests and this led to a “government” cut off all communications and they closed their borders. 

No independent observers from the United Nations or even the African Union were allowed into the country to verify that the elections were indeed free and open. There has been a lot of controversy about this election and the nation is divided about who actually won. The courts have confirmed the election of the new president but there are many reasons to think that his election is not legit. This has led to more protests. All of this has led to a lag in communications between Yumba and me for the past few months. 

Three days before I was supposed to travel to the northern border of Zambia to visit Yumba, I still hadn’t confirmed that he had received my proposed visitation. But a couple of days before I was supposed to travel to the Zambia/DRC border communications/internet access was restored and the borders were again opened and Yumba was allowed to receive a Zambia visa for the first time in months. 

The meeting went well and he reports that the seminary students have successfully completed the first two years of training and construction is underway on the new seminary buildings that will be used for classrooms, dormitory, and office/library. This large building project is made possible through a grant from the CLC-MDF. 

The town near the Zambia/DRC border where we meet is also where there are three CLC-Zambia congregations, so we conducted a two day Bible training seminar.

Bible Training at the Ktiwe/Copperbelt District of the CLC-Zambia
From the Zambia/DRC border I traveled by bus to Lusaka and then to Livingstone where I conducted Pastor, Evangelist, and Sunday School training seminars in both locations. 
Bible Training - Luska/Shimabala District of the CLC-Zambia

Bible Training - Livingstone District of the CLC-Zambia
Pastor Ibrahim moved from Lusaka to Livingstone in August. This is where the CLC-Zambia will be headquartered and eventually there are plans to start a Bible School/Seminary. The CLC Board of Missions has approved partial funding for the purchase of land or a building to be used for this purpose. Pastor Ibrahim and the church elders in the Livingstone area have been actively looking for a building for this purpose at a price that they can afford with the grant from the CLC MDF.
CLC-Zambia Congregation in Livingstone

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