|"GRACEVINE" Newsletter - MAY 2003|
To our EHC co-workers, supporters, prayer partners and friends - hello from the Anglo Africa Regional Office!
(Special note added in from Nicky: Hennie is celebrating his birthday May 21st should you wish to send him a birthday greeting to the office)
Our heart's are truly running over with joy as we share with you this month .... I was recently able to pay a brief (but awesome) visit (25 - 28 April) to our work in the Gwembe Valley, together with our zonal leader for Zimbabwe and Zambia, Cleopas Chitapa - this stretches along the mighty Zambezi River in Zambia. In Maamba (our head quarters for this focus area) we had a meeting with two of our focus leaders, Albert Muleya and Matambo Oliver where we heard incredible testimonies coming in from more than 800 well trained EHC workers who work in this valley. I listened to their goal - to plant 480 new churches in the next two years and it is with joy that I can tell you today that 92 churches have already been planted since our work began - only 388 more to go! The climax of this trip was on Sunday April 27, when I had the opportunity to visit our latest (youngest) planted church/"Christ Group" as we call it. Picture in your mind for a moment 30 - 40 people worshipping the Lord under a tree, with benches and a pulpit made of tree branches. This is a young, two week old church and we saw people worshiping and praising God! In the Western culture, it often takes believers many years to reach this mature level of worship. Pastor Michael who is overseeing 6 brand new churches referred to the "Heart of Man" chart (one of our most effective tools) as an African Bazooka - this is so fitting as we, the Anglo Africa team see the Heart chart as our short-range (one-on-one) 'tubular' Gospel rocket-launcher!
Chief Mweemba (Chief of 878 villages) is one of the most senior Chief's in Zambia and even has an airstrip next to his 'palace' where the President of Zambia can land when he visits the Chief from time to time. Chief Mweemba was led to the Lord by our brother Cleopas Chitapa at the end of last year - we give God all the glory! We are seeing the most amazing revival and transformation taking place, such as we have not seen before!
This is the area (along the river and lake) where we are about to launch a Food Security Program which includes adopting 400 local farmers from 400 villages with our goal being to supply them all with seed, fertilizer and equipment they need. Our objective is to promote sustainable agricultural knowledge and practices in the Gwembe valley, producing high crop yields and food security planning - each human being has the right to a life of dignity and to know their self-worth! We would like to take this opportunity to express our sincere thanks to EHC Australia for the wonderful support with this program, in partnership with the Australian Government!
I returned back home with a song of joy in my heart and praise on my lips for what I had seen and heard! This is but only one of hundreds of focus areas in our Region and we stand in awe when we realize all that we are experiencing In Africa - we are truly a blessed region and people! We are expecting great things as we plan and work towards the goal of reaching all of Africa's avoided and neglected people.
I shared with you (in last month's Newsletter) the 40/40 Vision that God gave me in September 2000 - we can indeed see Africa turning into a 'Continent of Light' and we are proudly African! We have recently registered a Foundation in South Africa called "The 40/40 Africa Vision Foundation" (abbreviated as 'The 40/40 Foundation').
The mission of the Foundation is:-
See Africa transformed from "darkest Africa" into a continent of Light through the Gospel
See Africa responding and enriching other nations rather than just being recipients of aid and relief programs
See ourselves - God's children - as salt of this African earth
See Africans who can be respected, trusted and followed instead of being stereotyped and insignificant
If while you are reading this you feel you would like to become involved with us in seeing God transform Africa into a Continent of Light, please CALL US! The 40/40 Foundation is a channel that will focus talents, energy, experiences, resources, knowledge and influence of every Christian person and organization towards sharing His (God's) Vision for Africa!
Pieces of Gospel literature distributed: 89,856
Number of homes reached: 84,476
People reached with the Gospel: 422,380
Christ Groups formed: 296
Volunteer workers (pioneer missionaries): 8,957
We thank the Lord for this tremendous harvest report and salute the 8,957 pioneer missionaries who worked tirelessly during the month of March. Just pause for a moment and think about this ... these soldiers for God (collectively) shared the Gospel on a one-to-one, personal, home-to-home basis with 422,380 people. The result was that 58,737 people gave their lives to Christ.
We thank the Lord for the hundreds of reports that are reaching the Regional Office from all over our region - the 28 nations under my leadership. I want to pay tribute to these men and women who have a passion for the Great Commission - who refuse to give up no matter what pressures they encounter - and as the Regional Office team we commend them as they reach out to the most remote villages where people (like you and I) created by God, with a desire to find Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, are seeking to fill the void within their 'hungry hearts'! Praise God that through our evangelism efforts these 'lost pearls' have been found! Wow!
296 Churches were planted during March - Our prayer is that they would get the practical training they need to powerfully impact today's world with the Gospel! Please pray with us as we work towards this.
Once we have 'gripped the plough', there is no looking back. We're committed to promote our dreams with great confidence and steadfastness - to water and fertilize the Gospel seeds of our dreams and plans.
The Regional Office has awarded the book prize this month to Brother Hennie Van Zyl, one of our Southern Africa Zonal Leaders. Hennie travels extensively to assist our national and focus leaders and is doing an outstanding job! This prize is awarded to Hennie Van Zyl especially now after his most recent visit to Southern Tanzania and Northern Malawi. Soon after his return, we received an email from our leader in Northern Malawi, Simon Msowoya, and we quote him below:
Since I returned from Tanzania, I have wanted to write you this letter.
I feel it is really good to give credit where it is due. I would therefore like to commend Hennie Van Zyl for the work he is doing for you. This is the third year that I have worked with Hennie Van Zyl in this area. Every time he turns up I see a growing mentor. He has improved a lot; even his approach to training and leadership is fantastic. People have openly told me that he is a very good teacher and that the stuff he teaches has helped them a lot. He is a person you can rely upon and the right representation of the Regional Office in the field. I believe that God has a purpose and He is surrounding you with the right people.
Hennie, we say "thank you" and salute you - we are proud to have you on our regional team!
After what we have shared this month, we would like to end with an extract about a true visionary leader as it seems so fitting for our region this month!
Rev. Dr Michael Beckwith said, “A visionary leader helps awaken and direct the inner strength of the people”.
Visionary leaders don’t settle for the norm if the norm is mediocre! Instead, they are interested in pulling people up; they invigorate and stir a greater possibility. To be a visionary, is to ‘envision another possibility’ and spread the seeds of that vision – those possibilities – so that they might take root in others. The true visionary must connect with a source of inspiration and courage that emboldens him to let a specific vision “speak out through him” even though others might disagree. They are the people who, in trust and faith, lead the way along a new road, even though they themselves often may not see but a few steps ahead and may feel uncertain.
And yet, the visionary perseveres, usually through a wide variety of challenges, uncertainties, personal shortcomings and setbacks, taking his/her place among fellow visionaries who sow seeds of individual and collective potential. For most of these men or women, the path of service is also one of spiritual progress, where they themselves learn, develop and serve spiritually, in the hope of contributing something useful to those around them. They can find comfort, courage and inspiration from others who have walked ahead of them, or who are walking with them on this path.
There are many visionaries - widely know and less known - who can serve as models to inspire and encourage. They persevered through uncertainty, personal fears about their ability to carry out the mission before them, setbacks and harassment, yet quietly and courageously sow seeds of light, possibility, positive transformation and hope.
Many blessing - till we talk with you again