Saturday, August 10, 2013

2013 Visit 15 August - 1 September

Greetings all. Along with James Major and Roger Wharrie, I set off for another time of teaching and encouragement at Samfya Bible School. I am now the Pastor of Fenton Park Bible Church in Rotorua, so maybe the blog name should change - no it shouldn't as Riverbend Bible Church remains the significant partner to the ministry at SBS! We will really value your prayers during the trip. I have a very heavy teaching workload over the three weekends and two weeks - please pray for strength and clarity in all that I do. Here is the itinerary for your information. Thanks for your interest in this vital work.
13 Aug.                 Depart evening overnight Auckland, then Sydney,
                             Joburg, Ndola…
15 Aug.                 Arrive at Samfya
16-18 Aug.           Village leadership training at Musonda  Falls
                              (130 kms)
19-23 Aug.           Student Training              
                                - doctrines of Man, Sin, & Salvation 8am-1pm
                                - 1 & 2 Timothy 2-4pm
23-25 Aug.           Village leadership training at Kale (50 Kms)
26-30 Aug.           Student Training              
                                - doctrine of the church 8am -1pm
                                - 1 & 2 Timothy 2-4pm
                                - late afternoons teaching at a Regional Conference
                                20 Kms away, teaching on  Firm Foundations for
                                Church Life &Ministry
30 Aug-1 Sept.   Village leadership training at Chishi Island (2 1/2hrs
                           by boat)
2 Sept.                  Fly to Johannesburg
3 Sept.                  Fly home via Sydney
5 Sept.                  Arrive Rotorua airport at 5:35pm
Please pray for strength and health to achieve a very full teaching workload, and opportunity to encourage the Bible School staff in their important work.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Biblical Counselling Training for Francis Chola


Meet the teaching staff of Samfya Bible School - Francis, Peter, Levy  & Aaron. These men are critical to the ongoing work of the training ministry and they need ongoing encouragement and training to help them deliver with excellence the training for the village churches.

In 2010-2011 Peter Chomba was sponsored to go and do training in South Africa in Biblical Counselling studying under Dr Wayne Mack and Dr Joel James. This training had significant impact on his teaching ministry at the Bible School and the blessing has been passed on to graduates and their home churches. IN FACT Peter is currently writing a booklet in Bemba for use in Biblical Counselling!

We now have opportunity to see Francis Chola undertake this training. It would be done over five one week blocks in February, March and October 2013 and February and March 2014. To achieve this training we need to come up with sponsorship for Francis which includes airfares, buses, living expenses and course fees. The total amounts to NZ$1115 per week of classes.

Would you please pray for this need? Maybe your church or your small group would like to help with this, perhaps sponsoring one week of training. Any amount of help will be a blessing. Here is Francis translating for Donald Stevsnson 08/2012.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Dear Friends of Samfya Bible School,

Graduation has happened and while this year had a smaller intake of students, they all leave well prepared for ministry in their local churches.

Please notice that the graduation ceremony occurred in the new Multi Purpose Hall, which is still under construction, but is a very usable and functional building. Principal Levy Kasoma reports about the training of the students:

Ø  The students were equipped with both theory and practical courses such as Bible Interpretation and preaching.

Ø  They were given a solid foundation in both New and Old Testament survey.

Ø  They also went through systematic teachings on basic Bible doctrines such as the doctrine of God.

Praise God for this good work and pray that these graduates will be effective in their local church ministries. Next year sees the potential of a much larger student group, possibly up to 30 students, as well as the introduction of a second year course. Please pray for these plans and that the many potential students for 2013 would get their applications in soon.
We are in the final stage of raising funds to complete the Multi Purpose Hall, with around $3,500 needed to complete the construction. Please pray for this last stage that it would be able to be completed before the end of this year. Your support is valued and much appreciated by the Bible School staff.
Prayer Items:
·         For Graduates to settle into effective church ministry
·         For Student intake for 2013
·         For development of the second year programme for 2013
·         For the remaining $3,500 to complete the Multi Purpose Hall

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back In New Zealand

Greetings friends of Samfya Bible School! I have been back in New Zealand now for one week after a very encouraging time in the Zambia and with excellent meetings with partners in UK & Singapore. I have come home excited about the ongoing future for the Bible School and all that God is doing through this ministry in rural churches.

In my meetings in Singapore I briefly reflected on the truth from our Lord Jesus that He is building his church. The bride of Christ is the most precious entity on earth – it is His, it is what He is building and working in and through, so what a privilege it is to partner with a ministry that is all about strengthening, growing and blessing the ministry of the local church in Bemba speaking Zambia.

In leaving the staff at Samfya, I was encouraged by the large number of potential students for 2013, the possibility of the second year programme beginning in 2013, and also the new School Teachers training programme that is going to see these teachers given a great Bible Programme to help them in their ministries in the village areas that they are posted to by the government.

I was also very encouraged by the progress in buildings at Samfya. We have five great new units for married couples, a three block classroom, a new visiting lecturers house, a staff house just about finished and the multi-purpose hall (kitchen, dining, conference) nearing completion, but still needing about NZ$9000 to complete it. If you would like to assist with this let me know!!

Thank you for your faithfulness in praying for my time away and for the ministry of Samfya. God is blessing this ministry and using it to glorify His name! If you are interested in a visit to your church to speak about this work please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
The mullti-purpose hall - looking great but needing a little more finishing

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Update from the UK

My journey south to Lusaka was via Mkushi where I meet with Mr Moffat, the representative of the4 Beit Trust. We hope to put an application into the trust for single student accommodation, so it was good to have some thoughts on how to approach the application. I stayed at Chengelo School and was able to catch up with Delwyn Houghton who teaches at the school – she has a very busy life and needs your prayers for strength in her ministry at the school.

The following day I arrived in Lusaka and stayed with Webster & Elisabeth Nonde and preached in their church Woodlands Baptist on the Sunday. What a blessing to encourage and be encouraged by brothers and sisters in Christ.

On Monday I flew to London and have been able to learn of the work of Grace Life London a new church plant in the Central City as I stayed with Pastor Tom Drion and his wife Donna. The time here in the UK is to meet with partners of Samfya and further encourage the ministry of the School. This has gone well so far and I have a final meeting in Bath in the morning before heading to Singapore in the evening. Please continue to pray for our partners and that they will be encouraged with the reports that I bring of the ministry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Charles – Hard Working Graduate!

You may remember I reported on Charles in 2010. He had just returned from church planting in the Congo and reported about the church walls that had been blown in by severe winds. We were able to supply Bibles for the needy Christians there and the small amount of money raised was used to rebuild the walls – Charles showed me a picture of the grass roofed Church – very humble but functioning.

Charles has again recently returned from a ministry trip to this area in DR Congo. He works with a team of five other evangelists and teachers. The aim of this visit was evangelism, teaching, training evangelists (Sowers Programme) and training a secretary. Charles reports that there were 58 people who placed their faith in Christ. He said that many of these were from Catholic backgrounds and indicated that any church involvement in this remote and forgotten part of Congo is devoid of the gospel and any churches are just social clubs. Praise God that this team is expending time, money and energy in seeing the life changing gospel message preached and bearing fruit.

Charles has two couples from his area that they are actively working to see attend Samfya Bible School next year. What a blessing that will be to the many churches that Charles gives encouragement through visitation and teaching by sharing the load with other equipped leaders. He has also indicated that one man in DR Congo form this new church plant is a very strong prospect to attend next year as well. Please pray that God will work in his heart and enable him to attend and become a blessing to this new work. Thanks for you prayers.

I leave Samfya on Friday and will have meeting in Mkushi with a representative of a trust based in Harare and London that sometimes fund infrastructure. Please pray for wisdom and insight in this meeting. Then on Saturday I arrive in Lusaka, teach at Woodlands Baptist Church on Sunday. On Monday I begin my return to New Zealand via the UK & Singapore and I would value your prayers for the meetings with various partners.

Please also meet Dixon who is one of the Bible School board members. It has been decided that Dixon will be the new Project Manager for the infrastructure development here. His working life was involved in this area, and with his seniority he will demand respect and be able to keep his finger on the pulse. He will also oversee the maintenance programme to ensure that procedures are being followed and buildings cared for.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mupunda Church

What a wonderful Sunday with the believers at Mupunda. It is so hard to describe the joy and oneness in Christ that I witnessed from this church. We began with a communion service at 9:15am and I was able to give a brief word form Colossians focused on the salvation that we have been blessed with. This service was quickly followed by the main teaching service which then extended through until close to 1pm!

I taught from 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 on “How to Protect the Church” this precious bride of Christ. This was preceded by many hymns and then the mandatory choir items – these people know how to sing! After my teaching there was a special offering collected by the church. It was led from outside the building by the Sunday School children coming in bringing gifts of food and money all wrapped in cloths. This precession of children and then adults must have continued for around 10 minutes. The songs were of great joy and they danced as they came up the aisle of the church with gifts to give to the work of the Lord.

The children were encouraged to be part of this because the leaders of the church are focusing on needed teaching to the whole church on how to give from the overflow of the heart – something many of these churches have not focused on at all. The elders want all of the people to learn what it is to give with a grateful heart to the Lord. Little did I know as all this was happening, all the food that was coming in was for me to take back to Samfya!!  There was Kasava, ground nuts, popcorn, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, maize meal... How humbling to receive this from the overflow of their hearts – I must confess at times I had tears in my eyes.

This church is alive! It is wonderful to see the evidence of a strong children’s and youth ministry. The women’s ministry is excelling under the leadership of a Samfya Bible School graduate. They are evangelising both door to door and in the market place as they reach out to their community. These people are clearly being taught well and love the Lord.

After the service we retired to the house of one of the elders and waited for a most delicious meal to be served. Again their hospitality was an amazing blessing! We had a discussion after the meal – I have been in many of these before. This one was different – it was not just the elders, but the deacons and the deaconesses as well. These people are working together like I have never witnessed in a village church before – they love each other and they love to serve the body!

The needs in a church like this continue to be resource material for Sunday School, Youth work, Bibles... As you will see in the photos they are also in the process of building a new church building – it is all made of concrete block and the next job is to get a roof on the building. It is very large but they need it, there were 317 people in the service today! If only I had a supply of iron sheets I would give them – these people are not waiting for handouts – they are actively working, doing the work of the Lord and also building infrastructure to bless the people.

The old church building with the new building being constructed, visible in the background. They intend to use the old building for a skills training programme in carpentry and sewing!!

I would love to be able to pick you all up and bring you to a church like this – it changes the way you think! Is the Bible Training happening through Samfya worth it? There is no doubt. It has blessed this church and their leaders are looking at the teacher training that the Bible School will be running next year. Praise the Lord for His grace so active in this place.