God answered prayer on our recent trip to Zambia in opening doors to schools, churches and pastors conferences. We linked up with men who were eager to help get us into these places.
One of these men was Pastor Enoch. He had "the keys to the kingdom" in that he had government authorization that meant he could drive to a school, talk to those in charge and they would likely gather the students to listen, usually standing outside. Cool! Efficient!
Pastor Enoch would also pitch in and translate at some of the rural schools where English was not so well known. He also took pictures and sent them to us later. This first picture is mine, taken while I was holding the chalk board so it wouldn't blow away.
We left for Botswana around 1 in the afternoon. It was not until we stopped after 9 that night, in Francistown, Botswana, that we realized we had left Paul's "hang ups" behind in that room! Oops! We couldn't drive back all those miles, cross the border again to get them, so we would have to make do. To make matters worse, Paul's pen had leaked into the pocket of his only pants at the Botswana border crossing, leaving him with a bruised looking leg, and a bright blue spot on his jeans. I quick sent a desperate plea to our friends Koos & Jeni Basson who lived near that place where we had left the stuff.
The border crossing into Zambia took about 3 hours the next day. If not for that, we could have arrived in Lusaka before it was completely dark, but because of that, and road construction, we ended up driving about 4 hours in the dark again. We neared the place where we were to stay, the Baptist Mission of Zambia, and knew we were close, but we couldn't find it. Our phones were not working as they still had South African Sim cards in them, so we couldn't call, but tried hunting, and praying, and singing our "Guide Me O, Thou Great Jehovah." After nearly an hour of hunting, we were ready to give up. We spotted a hotel and went to see about staying there. The guy at the desk reeked of beer, but he was friendly. He told us the hotel was full, and he showed us on his phone the way to the place we wanted to be. We took off again, full of hope, and managed to get lost again, but when we passed the hotel again, we got our bearings, and the second time managed to find it. It was just at 11:00 PM, way past our bedtime. We are people who plan not to drive much after dark in between cities in Africa. There are goats, cows, maybe elephants, and worst of all, people on the roads, without tail-lights! We are so thankful we didn't hit anything in all the hours of night driving we had to put in on this trip.
We settled in our own little cottage there, and got to sleep. The next morning, we had to leave around 7:30 for the first appointment. It was in Kanyama, a big "compound" (informal settlement to South Africans) in Lusaka.
Besides schools there were pastors' conferences. One of the fun parts of pastors' conferences was when Paul would teach them object lessons. Of course he did his beloved Liquor Bottle Object Lesson. I'd love to know if any of the pastors use it. Seems a leap, but I hope so. Paul taught it to me on our first date, and I used it in my Sunday School soon after, so I know it's not impossible.
He also taught them a soul winning lesson. He makes one row of people be "people who need to be saved" or "Satan's kingdom." He chooses a "soul winner" (usually a boy around 12, but if you only have pastors, he chooses a small man) and a "devil" (This is also a boy or small man, but should be a bit bigger than the first guy). Paul makes himself play the part of Jesus.
The "soul winner" is instructed to lead the people in that one row to the front of the building, signifying that they are coming out of Satan's kingdom. The "devil" guy is supposed to stop them. They wrestle a bit, depending on how brave they are. The church loves this! It's drama! Surprises everyone that this is happening in the middle of church!
Soon into the wrestling, Paul calls the soul-winner to himself, and whispers in his ear. He tells the boy to call "Jesus" to help. He sends him back, but this time, when the "devil" tries to stop him from getting the people out, he turns to Paul, and Paul comes to his aid! He grabs the boy playing the devil, and now the "soul winner" can work! If the "devil" boy is small enough, Paul puts him right over his shoulder! By now the church is laughing! Thighs are being slapped! Hands are clapped over giggling mouths! It's so fun!
And I'm ashamed I have no pictures of this! I tried in one church, but the electricity was off and the lighting was horrible, and my camera was just my phone, so I failed.
The Zambian part of the trip was only about two weeks. It was "nose to the grindstone" for most of the time. No time to go off on safari or anything "African," so I feel grateful the Lord sent the safari animals right to us, in Botswana as we drove home!
We saw 8 elephants and got the best wildlife video we ever shot! As in, that elephant was acting like he was going to charge us! Ears flapping, tail high, all accompanied by my voice in the background yelling to Paul, "Go! Go! Go!"
We saw a regal Mama/baby giraffe combo who gazed at us from beside the road with their long flirty eyelashes, wondering what we were staring at.
We saw funny warthogs, and monkeys, of course. We saw big bright blue birds we didn't know the names of, but they made us gasp at their beauty.
And all this from the road. Here are a few examples:
It wasn't all out in the bush as this glimpse of the Johannesburg skyline will show, but we were blessed in the city and blessed in the field (Deuteronomy 28:3).