Missionary activities of CC BEREA
April 20 - May 5, 2007
The partnership of the Christian Centre BEREA in Slovakia and the Christian Resource Centre in Zambia came to a next stage. After making two collections to support the Zambian workers in the gospel we received the invitation to visit this south-African country personally. It did not seem easy in the beginning but finally all doors opened and in April I was able to embark on a long journey. Zambia is a tourist destination with attractions like African safari and the breathtaking Victoria Falls on the river Zambezi. However, I did not visit anything of that kind. What attracted me was the opportunity to meet the local churches and their workers.
The Brethren in Zambia will celebrate the 110th anniversary of their presence in the land (that means they are older than the assemblies in Slovakia, and they are much more numerous, too). In 1898 the missionary Dan Crawford crossed from Congo and many other Brethren missionaries followed in his steps.
This is a watershed period when the African assemblies are coming of age and taking responsibility for the spreading of the Good News and building up the church. For a long time they have depended on the help of the expatriate missionaries and changing the pattern of the Lord's work is not easy. But there are already some encouraging examples in place that evidence that the Africans are indeed able to build and manage a Christian ministry. The Christian Resource Centre, supporting local workers by providing them with things like bicycles, mosquito nets and sleeping bags and theological literature, is one of them. During my visit I was able to present the missionaries with many of those items, some of them bought for the money that had been collected at the missionary conferences in Slovakia. I was also pleased to meet a young missionary couple (I was there at their wedding day) going to serve the Lord in Malawi.
I spent the first week in the town of Solwezi in the North-Western province. There was a Christian Workers Seminar with 25 students and an intensive teaching programme. I was doing the exposition of the book of the prophet Habakkuk and the letter of Paul to the Philippians. It was very well received; especially the theme of friendship and partnership in the gospel in Philippians struck a note in the Zambian context. Other teachers took the subjects of Preaching, the False Cults and Marriage Counselling.
During my first week in Zambia I visited some local churches: the English speaking Bethel Chapel in Chingola and CMML Solwezi Central, where my talk was translated in Luvale. All other churches (Chiwempala, Nchanga, Filibaba, Bulangililo) visited during the second week were African, Bemba speaking. Despite the language barrier it was obvious that the Word of God can speak powerfully to people of all times and cultures. For me as a preacher it was exciting to see the genuine interest in the messages from the Bible. It is difficult to describe with words the amazing singing in the African churches and also their hospitality; one has to experience it.
The town of Chingola in the Copperbelt province has a good number of missionaries and Christian workers and I have visited some interesting places there. The Musenga mission runs a Christian printing press and provides logistic support for the missionaries in the field. Amano Christian School is a boarding school for the children of missionaries from a big part of central and southern Africa. In the town of Chililabombwe the Brethren churches together with some other evangelical fellowships build their recording and broadcasting studio. I saw a Christian bookstore in Garneton and a Christian conference centre in Kalulushi; they just had a week-long conference for women there.
Each visit was a special moment for me and a reminder that the Lord is doing His work in many places of the world despite human weakness and lack of financial resources. We are used to think of ourselves as poor but in Africa the support from our limited resources can make a difference. If we learn to give we shall also see the blessing of God surpassing our expectations.