|Prayer Letter - Mar 2010|
“Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Dear brothers and sisters, March 2010
The year 2009 was overwhelming in terms of people coming into membership. 27 people have joined membership since September 2009 (with another 13 still being processed), bringing our membership to 377. We had three baptismal services in the course of last year, out of which 27 people were baptized.
We also had two parallel new members’ classes in the course of the year, and two other classes have commenced this year in order for us to complete the backlog of members yet to be oriented in what we stand for as a church. We have revamped our discipleship program—a one-on-one program where some mature members have availed themselves to disciple younger Christians. On a sad note, however, we had to excommunicate one individual from the membership of the church due to persistent marital unfaithfulness. God graciously comforted our hearts because in the same period we welcomed back into membership two members who were excommunicated sometime back but had now shown marks of genuine repentance. We thank God for both of them!
The Sunday morning Bible studies continue to be on how to respond biblically to challenges that we meet at various stages of our lives. We plan to break these groups further so that the studies are more intimate. We are still unable to work fast enough at increasing space in the auditorium in order to accommodate the increased attendances at our Sunday morning services. The completion of the second ministry centre did not help because we needed more office space for the Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary staff. We have a very good turnover of visitors every Sunday, and we are still trying to maximise on this God-given opportunity. Our “capturing” these visitors and following them up needs to be improved.
The home Bible studies groups are soon to complete the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. From the feedback we have received, we have decided to do a topical study on the cessation of the charismata before we get into another book study. Pray for our weekly door to door outreach through these home groups, that many more members will make an effort to participate in them.
Under our annual calendar activities, what stood out the most was the junior youth camp in December. We had a record attendance of almost 600 young people. Many young people got converted during this camp. This has become such a vital part of our ministry to young people that we will again aim higher this year. Pray for this.
(As usual, we can only report on a few of the KBC ministries and missions endeavours)
Book Ministry: The Bookstore has increased its stock of books due to various donations of funds received in the recent past from various friends. Books worth about $2,000 were lost in a fraud. Thankfully, just after that, the bookstore received two donations amounting to US$11,000 for the purchase of books. The bestselling book in the bookstore at the moment is the Bible, with about 100 copies sold since September! We rejoice in the fact that one of the recent baptism candidates was led to salvation by reading Christian literature. Please pray for more such fruit in the future!
Hope Ministry: The ministry undertook outreach efforts to Chisomo Transit Home and the University Teaching Hospital right here in Lusaka. They also produced gospel-oriented HIV/AIDS awareness posters which were distributed to schools and churches. They are in the process of setting up an orphanage. They also had a counselling workshop in May where members were trained on how to counsel people that are in stressful situations. They plan to reach out to men in a local prison soon.
The Missions Conference: Our 3rd in-house missions conference went very well. We had reduced it by one day to allow for the missionaries’ prayer retreat to take place in the same week. It is enabling all our members to know what is happening in the mission field and also to respond in a personal way to the challenge of missions. The attendance was good throughout the conference, and we remain grateful to God for the level of pledges. Pray for us to be faithful to our pledges.
Botswana (Bonang Lekoba): Pastor Bonang Lekoba’s contract as our missionary came to an end at the end of February. It had become clear, from the lack of fruit in the work there, that we needed someone with more evangelistic gifts than our brother has been endowed with. Until such a person is found, we need to be sending evangelistic teams there to spend a week or two at a time.
Chisomo: (Lichawa Thole): This is the last time we will be reporting on this work because it not only became autonomous in 2008 but the church also voted 100% to take Pastor Thole as their resident pastor last October. He was set apart for the work in January 2010. Although this means an end to our support for the pastor, we still want to help them with their building project, as the Lord enables. We thank God for this weaning process.
Lusaka Inter-Church Projects: Our elders continue to have regular meetings with fellow elders in English-speaking Reformed Baptist churches in Lusaka. In these meetings we are coordinating a number of our joint ventures. We had an inter-church social last November which was fairly well attended. We also sponsor four regional Reformed Conferences in the four corners of Zambia. Two of those four regional conferences continue to take place successfully, but we need to do better with the ones in Northern and Western Provinces. Also, discussions are now at a very advanced stage for the formation of a Zambia Baptist Historical Society, which will be the vehicle of safeguarding our Baptist heritage in this country.
Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary: The SGTS has moved to Lusaka, and has since merged operations with the Preachers College. Both Bruce Button and James Williamson are in the country and should be managing this enterprise together. So, our training of preachers is about to enter a new level. Plans to start the African Christian University are also well underway. These are very exciting developments for which we seek your prayer and financial support.
OFFICERS AND STAFF
Elders: The elders continue to work well together. Although they did not totally complete their oversight visits of all the members last year, this was the closest they had gotten to completion for many years. Pastor is doing doctoral studies and he will be given more time this year so that he can make progress with the studies. Pray for him that he will complete these studies despite the demands of an ever-growing pastoral and preaching ministry. He has completed his evangelistic series in Psalm 1 & 2 in the morning services and commenced a new series on the cross. He also took a break from his series in Romans in the evening services and has just recently commenced a new but brief series on Christian hospitality. During the Lord’s Supper, he has continued the series in the Upper Room Discourse of our Saviour.
Deacons: Stanley Musukwa retires this year after 18 years as a deacon. We want to set it on record that he has been the longest serving deacon in the history of Kabwata Baptist Church, and possibly in the history of the Reformed Baptist churches in Zambia. Eighteen years of unbroken record as a deacon. We praise God for such faithfulness!
Interns: It has been a joy to work with interns. Previously, we have had Paul Sakala, Steve Mtine, Curtis Chirwa, Oswald Sichula, and Brian Mutale. And now we have Chipita Sibale and Andrew Matoke Ogeto. We are expecting two more interns soon. As this ministry grows we are grateful for Lusaka Baptist Church with whom we are sharing the supervision and practical training of these men.
Staff: The members of staff are all working well together. You will recall that we started the year with a search for two pastoral assistants. The Lord has since provided Seke Lupunga as pastor’s ministry assistant and Patience Namangala as pastor’s office assistant. They are both slowly settling into their work. We now have a payroll of 36 individuals—if you include the school staff, interns and missionaries.
As you have noted from the prayer letter, we had yet another year full of activity—new members coming into the church, new outreach endeavours through the ministries, more churches being started and more missionaries wanting to be sent out. We have seen growth on every side. Pray for us to be faithful in our finances so that there may be enough funds to underwrite all these blessings. We are grateful for the ever-growing number of partners in the Lord’s work, but we would like to see our own giving to abound. We need to heed the words of Paul to the Corinthians, “Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm...—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving” (2 Cor 8:7, New Living Translation).
We need all the money and the manpower we can get to bring down the citadels of Satan in the land of Zambia and beyond. May God help us to bring everything we have and everything we are to this great work, that we may see how the Lord will make the work of our hands flourish. Amen!