Throughout 2012, HeartCry has seen a number of developments in the church-planting efforts of our partners in Africa.
With the departure of the Reece families at the end of 2011, the work among the Lozi in the Western Province of Zambia has seen dramatic changes. Our indigenous partners (Kabwata Baptist Church) decided to relocate the thrust of the work from the Shesheke area of the Western Province to the Lozi capital of Mongu.
In January 2012, at Kabwata’s annual missionary prayer retreat, the goal of reaching the Lozi was a top priority of prayer and discussion. The result was a renewed commitment to make every effort to establish strong churches among this needy people. The Zambian elders and missionaries testified that the Reeces were the instrument that the Lord used to “turn their arsenals” towards the Western Province.
In February, Kabwata Baptist Church handed over the Reeces’ off-road vehicle to Binwell Chibesa - a missionary/pastor from Lusaka Baptist Church working in Mongu. Pastor Conrad Mbewe then followed up with a visit to Lozi land in May to “spy out the land” and see what the Lord would have Kabwata do in this region. Please pray for HeartCry and Kabwata. We have a great need of wisdom to discern God’s will and to advance the gospel among the Lozi.
At the beginning of 2012, HeartCry began supporting a new missionary/pastor in Solwezi, a city in the northwest of Zambia. Jacob Mwila was sent to Solwezi by Central Baptist Church in Chingola - a sister church of Kabwata. Central Baptist began the work in Solwezi in 2010 by sending evangelistic teams to the area. As “gospel fruit” began springing up, they decided to send a full-time missionary. Pastor Jacob now leads this young church among the Kaonde people.
In April of this year, in cooperation with Kabwata Baptist and Mount Makulu Baptist, HeartCry took on the support of a missionary/pastor from Mount Makulu’s congregation: Pastor Wege Sinyangwe. Brother Sinyangwe is working in a poor area of Chilanga where a worker’s wages are less than a dollar a day. Please pray for pastor Sinyangwe as he seeks to plant a church among this needy people.
In May, one of Kabwata’s missionary-pastors, German Banda, accepted the call to pastor in the John Laing residential area of Lusaka. HeartCry continues to cooperate with Kabwata in supporting this endeavor. The work in John Laing was Kabwata’s first church plant among the Nyanjan-speaking people. They actually began the work in 1995, but it proved to be extremely difficult due to the moral depravity of the general populace. Kabwata’s first missionary to this area eventually withdrew, and the work has been without a missionary/pastor since his departure. Pastor Conrad Mbewe and the elders of Kabwata Baptist have relayed to us that of all of their missionaries, German is best gifted to work in this difficult place. Nevertheless, he is in great need of prayer and help from the Lord.
Under Kabwata Baptist Church’s own roof, there have been a number of positive advancements in 2012. First, they took on a new administrator and missions coordinator in the beginning of the year. Mishek Kumwenda has been coordinating Kabwata’s church planting efforts and their communication with HeartCry since March 2012. In this short period of time, he has already traveled to the Western Province to examine the need among the Lozi and visited all of Kabwata’s church plants throughout Zambia. He has also crossed the borders into Namibia and Malawi to witness the official establishment of two churches which were planted by Kabwata.
Secondly, through your financial aid given through HeartCry, Kabwata Baptist Church was able to purchase two houses near the church that will be used as dormitories for the interns enrolled in their intensive pastoral training program. This ministry has the potential of impacting numerous countries throughout Africa.
Thirdly, Victor Kenyense, an experienced pastor/preacher from Mount Mkulu Baptist Church, has joined with Kabwata to spearhead the intern program in its initial stages. HeartCry became first acquainted with Pastor Victor through our Bible conferences in Ethiopia.
The church plant that HeartCry was assisting in Namibia was established as an autonomous church at the end of 2011. In 2012, it formally called Kapambwe Nsenduluka to be its full-time preaching pastor. Pastor Nsenduluka formerly labored at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Windhoek, Namibia for four years before returning back to Zambia in 2011. GRBC was a church plant of Eastside Baptist Church in Windhoek.
In 2012, Pastor Monametsi Bahudi was set apart by Kabwata Baptist Church of Zambia for the pastoral ministry of Central Baptist Church in Gabarone, Botswana. Pastor Monametsi will be finishing up his full-time employment with the government of Botswana at the end of 2012. In January of 2013, he will begin full-time pastoral work with CBC.
At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, HeartCry began supporting two more missionaries in Kenya: Paul Onyango and Sam Odeny. Brother Onyango is now co-pastor with Sam Oluoch at Grace Baptist Church in Kisumu (a long-time HeartCry partner). He oversees the church’s evangelistic outreach and does a great deal of teaching within the church. Brother Odeny is a missionary/pastor sent out from Grace Baptist and is now pastoring the young church plant of the same name in Oyugis.
Our partners in Malawi have seen great change over the course of 2012. Pastor Percy Chisenga lost his battle with cancer and went home to be with the Lord on March 1, 2012. He left behind his beloved wife Betty and a young church plant in Zomba, Malawi. HeartCry partner Malamulo Chindongo in Blantyre and American missionary Frank Maxson assisted with the church’s transition during this difficult time, and now the church is standing on its own feet as an autonomous congregation. Pastor Malamulo’s work in Blantyre (Antioch Baptist Church) continues to experience solid growth both spiritually and numerically. Both of these congregations remain in need of prayer.
There are many things on the horizon regarding HeartCry’s involvement in Africa. First, we are preparing to support a church planter in the country of South Africa. Dave Webster of Jeffreys Bay Bible Church in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa has heeded a Macedonian call to work with Hillcrest Baptist Church in planting a church in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The church plant is in an ethnically diverse area and consists of a core group of believers who had been traveling to Hillcrest Baptist to receive sound teaching. They are in need of great help from the Lord.
Secondly, there is a great deal of pastoral training being done in Ethiopia both by our Zambian partners and by my co-pastor here in Virginia, Anthony Mathenia. Anthony was a missionary in Ethiopia and has been involved in strengthening the church there for a number of years. The greatest need is for a solid church to be planted in Addis Ababa, and God seems to have raised up a man who is inclined to see it through. Victor Kenyense, who is working with the intern program established by Kabwata Baptist in Zambia, feels compelled to do this work. Brother Victor has been traveling to Ethiopia in order to train the pastors in the area, and he hopes to move there after the intern program in Zambia is established and turned over to other leaders. For the past several years, HeartCry has been underwriting the expenses of Zambian pastors who travel to Ethiopia to train pastors and laymen in different regions of the country. In the Lord’s timing, we hope to assist Victor with the church plant.