It’s hard to believe that it has been over a year since I last stepped foot on Zambian soil. Much of last year’s travel focused on strengthening the work in South Africa and Malawi, and it felt good to be back in familiar surroundings. My visit was all too brief as I hurried to visit two of HeartCry’s newest Zambian missionaries – Joshua Lunguin Kasama and Samuel Kasonde in Kabwe.
With no time to waste, Kabwata’s missions coordinator, Misheck, and I were up well before sunrise for the twelve hour drive to Kasama, the capital of Zambia’s Northern Province. In a recent post, Pastor Lungu reflected on his two years in Kasama. Reading that article will give you a sense of the history of the work. Joshua explained to me that the first year seemed to be a year of conversions and baptisms. The second year saw some more mature saints added, and Joshua focused on grounding the new church in biblical doctrine and church practice.
Three highlights of my time in Kasama stand out in my mind. First, I had the opportunity to sit in the studio as Joshua preached on the local radio station (above left). You would think that Joshua was standing before a congregation of hundreds as he proclaimed the gospel with great passion. Second, Joshua gave us a tour of the three plots of land owned by the church (above right). Three plots, when many of his fellow missionary pastors struggle to get one! The church has big plans for all three. One will be the site of the church building, well-situated in a new residential area. The second they hope to use someday for a Christian school, since there is no school nearby for children to attend. The third they hope to use for a northern extension of the ministerial colleges in Zambia. Ambitious plans!
The third highlight was spending the evening with the church in the Lungu’s home (left). We sang and prayed together, and I exhorted them to cultivate a passionate love for Christ and confidence in the power of His gospel. They had purchased a decorated cake to celebrate my visit and we shared sweet fellowship together. Then it was time to grab a few hours’ sleep before the next day’s long journey.
On our way back to Lusaka, we stopped to visit Samuel Kasonde in Kabwe, a sizeable city located between Lusaka and the Copperbelt. Samuel (right) was sent by Bethel Baptist Church in Kabwe to plant a church in Makalolo, a massive informal settlement on the edge of the city. This impoverished area comes with multiple challenges – illiteracy, drunkenness, rampant immorality, witchcraft, and even gang crime. When someone visits their church meeting at the local school, Samuel must actually walk home with them to find out where they live, because it’s impossible to get an address since there are no street names!
Pastor Kasonde has seen six people converted in the past year, and, like Joshua Lungu, the church already has close to fifty in regular attendance. As we walked with Samuel through his community, we visited homes of those he regularly evangelizes and invites to church, ranging from young children to elderly women. His loving concern for souls was obvious. I left Zambia confident that both Joshua and Samuel are doing solid work with great compassion and zeal. Please pray that the Lord would give much fruit for their faithful labor.
Before his current role at HeartCry, Robert served several years in pastoral ministry, and a few years in Zambia, Africa as a missionary. He is also a veteran of the Marine Corps. Robert and his wife have been blessed with 3 children and 4 grandchildren. They live near Christiansburg, VA in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, where he enjoys deer hunting and fly-fishing for trout.More By Robert Shepherd