This is my favorite photo of my dear friend, Misheck Kumwenda. Can you spot the butterfly against his brightly colored shirt? I had to find a way to use this photo! For 7 years, Misheck has served as the Missions Coordinator for Kabwata Baptist Church. As the title suggests, Misheck has coordinated all the missions efforts of Kabwata Baptist Church with their many mission stations. This is a crucial role when Kabwata is now involved in over 15 church plants in Zambia and other African nations.
Just stop to think of that. An indigenous Zambian church busy planting over 15 other churches at the same time! In fact, this year marks their 30th attempted church-plant in as many years!
The Missions Coordinator is the primary center of communication between KBC’s elders and deacons, members, supporting partners (like HeartCry), and the church-planting pastors. His duties include monitoring the needs of the mission stations, overseeing missionary reports, keeping the church and partners informed on mission efforts, handling logistics for visits to the mission stations, and applying to partners for support of new missionaries. He is HeartCry’s representative in Zambia.
More than that, Misheck has been a precious friend. We have traveled thousands and thousands of kilometers together, and spent long day after long day in the car or van together. He has escorted me and my fellow travelers (including, at different times, my wife, my daughter, and a film crew) to literally the four corners of Zambia – north, south, east, and west. My travel companions always love Misheck. The film crew said he was the highlight of their trip. My wife cried when we said good-bye to him at the airport.
As my guide, Misheck has visited numerous mission stations with me, conducted countless long missionary interviews, encouraged the missionaries and their families, toured 4 ministerial schools (twice), trolled for tigerfish in the Zambezi, and taken in so many beautiful Zambian sights. Not to mention getting stuck in the sand (twice), changing and repairing flat tires, dodging potholes for hours on end, and sitting at an Eastern Province police post for an hour because I didn’t have my seatbelt buckled in the back seat!
Misheck has a wonderful variety of life experiences. He attended university in the UK. He has worked for the copper mines, BP Oil, and the US embassy in Zambia. His life experience provides a never ending source of entertaining stories – and Misheck is a master storyteller. Not only did he keep me entertained on those 10 and 12 hour car rides, he never failed to educate me on Zambian culture, Zambian history, and the church life of Zambian Reformed Baptists. When some never-ending African days stretched my patience too thin, Misheck always remained calm and cheerful, silently rebuking my sinful self-centeredness.
Misheck recently chose to ‘retire’ early as KBC’s Missions Coordinator, in order to devote himself to establishing a family business that can financially sustain them in the coming years. He continues to serve KBC as a deacon. Words fail to express my love and gratitude for him, and how much I will miss him. Please pray for him, his family, and his future business endeavors.
Meanwhile, we greet the new Missions Coordinator of KBC – Kapambwe Nsenduluka. His name is certainly a mouthful for us westerners. When I first came to HeartCry in 2008, Kapambwe was one of our supported missionary pastors. In fact, he was the first of Kabwata’s missionaries to be sent outside Zambia to another African nation.
Kapambwe has pastored churches in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, and India. He recently spent some years in India as his wife served in the Zambian Embassy there. His vast experience in pastoral ministry and cross-cultural missions will be hugely beneficial as he serves and supervises Kabwata’s many missionary pastors. Kapambwe is close friends with Pastor Conrad Mbewe (above – or mortal enemies, sometimes it’s hard to tell!). You can read more about Kapambwe – his testimony and life story – here.
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