From the Superintendent's DESK
The Zambia Camp Meeting began at the East Africa headquarters campground in Lusaka on Sunday, April 3, and will continue through April 10. A visiting team included John Musgrave on behalf of the world headquarters, as well as several district superintendents from Africa: Oniyas Gumbo of Southern Africa, Confidence Nemahungani of South Africa, Chris Nkhata of Malawi, Enock Simfukwe of Tanzania. Others from those locations accompanied their leaders, and four from Botswana came to support our camp meeting, making the occasion even more beautiful.
On Friday before the camp meeting started, Zambia District Superintendent Boniface Banda led a team to visit Sowi Kaibula, the widow of the late Timothy Kaibula, who was our former East Africa District Superintendent. Brother John reported that Sister Sowi and her family received the group with big smiles and appreciation for how the Lord and church has cared for her. The team then visited the headquarters campground where a new shower facility was nearly complete and the construction of a new tabernacle had progressed enough to be used for this year’s camp meeting. The old tabernacle building had a capacity of about 1200, which the congregation regularly exceeded, leaving many standing outside during services. The new building will be able to accommodate over two thousand and will be used for the annual camp meeting and monthly combined services. Since COVID prevented holding camp meeting for the past two years, it was very exciting for the saints to be gathering again, and especially to do so in the new tabernacle.
On Friday evening and Saturday morning, workers’ meetings were held with about three hundred in attendance. The topics were “Being a Servant of Jesus Christ” and “Ambassadors for Christ.” Saturday afternoon, Miza Musukwa who heads the evangelism and printing departments for our East Africa work showed the visitors equipment recently acquired to help with outreach efforts. He began with a 29-passenger bus that is being used to bring in visitors from around Lusaka, pick up families for Sunday services, take Gospel teams to remote locations, and more. The next item was a high-capacity commercial generator, which can power every building on the campground, including the press equipment. Finally, the group visited the printing plant, which houses a Heidelberg single-color press that can print up to 6,000 sheets per hour. They hope to purchase a better trimmer and folder soon to maximize their production capacities. Currently, volunteers come regularly to fold tracts by hand, and they struggle to keep up with the high demand for evangelistic materials.
Following the tour, the leaders of the work in Southern Africa met to discuss the logistics of having the printing plant in Zambia supply literature for our churches in the Southern Africa region as well. They hope to find an arrangement that would be a blessing for both districts.
The opening day of camp meeting began with Sunday school, including classes conducted in several different Zambian languages. As soon as Sunday school ended, all extra chairs were moved to the tabernacle, and there were still not enough for the over 1200 who attended the first service.
The meeting began with a junior brass band and choristers marching around the tabernacle while playing and singing a welcome song. The congregation responded to the beautiful presentation with hearty amens. Then Brother Boniface welcomed everyone to the 2022 East Africa Camp Meeting and the orchestra and choir presented song selections. Greetings from other regional leaders were read, as well as from the world headquarters church in Portland.
The Scripture reading was from Isaiah 13, and Brother John preached from 1 Thessalonians 5 about “The Day of the Lord,” encouraging the congregation to be prepared for the time when “the day of man” will come to an end. The sermon concluded with a rush to the altars and a strong prayer service.
We have fourteen branch churches in the city of Lusaka, and in the afternoon a small team visited two of these locations and held short services with the congregations. The first was at the Kamwala church, pastored by Edward Siabenzu, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. The congregation has submitted plans to the city for a new two-story church on their property, and before leaving, the visiting team prayed over the blueprints. The second stop was at the Bauleni church, where Zuze Tembo is the pastor. Both locations greeted the visitors with banners, flowers, and singing. Brother John said they had a wonderful time and only wished they could have stayed longer at each location.
The evening concert was delayed to 6:00 p.m., which turned out to be a blessing because the musicians seemed to be even more radiant after the sun had set. The program featured inspiring songs from the youth and adult choirs, the orchestra, and a variety of ensembles. Vocalists sang in several different languages, including Luvale, Lozi, Shona, Swahili, and Tonga, with the choir and orchestra presenting the “Hallelujah Chorus” for the finale. Brother John reported, “It was a fantastic presentation and the audience voiced its approval many times.” After a closing admonition, they enjoyed another good altar service.