19 August 2009

Planting Seeds

Greetings from Luanshya!

Few thing are more exciting than seeing a seed begin to grow. I remember as a boy when everyone in my first-grade class was given a seed and a cup of soil then told to plant that seed. We watered... and waited... and watered... and waited. A few days later one of the girls in the class exclaimed that her cup of soil had changed. It wasn't the soil that had changed, but the seed in the soil. Within a few days all of the tiny, green shoots of bean stalk had begun to rise above the soil. We had succeeded as tiny farmers in the midst of the suburbs of Los Angeles. I am not sure if anyone in that class went on to become a professional farmer, but I never forgot the excitement of seeing that plant begin to grow.

Two weeks ago Mr Mbewe came to see me. He had been struggling to find a church home. He and his wife have been in several "mainline" denominations over the years, but the more they studied their Bibles the more convinced they were that "denominational religion" was more man's creation than God's. He was sharing his frustration with a friend in Luanshya and his friend said, "If you are looking for Bible answers, then go see Patrick & Sherry Coleman. They are known to teach three words: The Bible Says." (It is good to have that kind of reputation.) Mr Mbewe came to see me, but he was ready for an argument. He would ask a question, then immediately counter whatever I said with: "But this church says..." or "That church teaches..." I must admit that I am often amazed at what intelligent people will believe just because it is stated with authority by someone with a religious title.

I finally stopped him and said, "Mr Mbewe, I am not interested in arguing about the different dogmas and doctrines of particular churches. I believe our conversation is over. When you want to talk about what God says in His Word, then come back to see me and we can continue." He was a bit surprised at my reaction, but I didn't have the time to argue with someone who wanted to argue for the sake of arguing. We prayed and I asked God to open his heart and mind to what God wanted him to have. Mr Mbewe came back last week while I was away at a Bible Conference and told Sherry he desperately needed to see me. When we met yesterday he said the moment he walked out of the Christian Resource Centre he realised that he had made a mistake. He had used the very arguments he had rejected to counter the answers I had presented from the Bible. He said he "kicked himself" all the way home for being so stubborn, but he knew he needed to hear more. We talked for an hour and a half. The more he opened up his heart the more I realised that the seed planted two weeks ago had taken root.

Please pray for Mr & Mrs Mbewe as they continue to grow in God's grace. Mrs Mbewe has not been well since she miscarried a child a few years ago. The doctors are not sure what the problem is and their treatments have been counterproductive, so please pray for her health as well.

As we plant seeds of hope, we see God bringing forth the fruit "in His season." Thank you for making it possible for us to remain in His harvest field.

In His Service,
Patrick & Sherry

05 August 2009

Training Trainers

Greetings from Luanshya!

We are in the midst of a "Training Trainers" week here at the Christian Resource Centre of Luanshya. Bro Twakkies DuToit from Pretoria, South Africa, is the Africa Director of Evangelism Explosion. He has come at our invitation to lead a seminar for church leaders who will, in turn, take this material back to their churches and train the believers how to lead their friends, neighbours and family members to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. The numbers were not huge, but those who did attend are excited about sharing their faith both in their respective churches as well as from "house-to-house" in Luanshya. On their first visitation they led a woman to Christ. This morning she came with two of her nephews and said "They need to hear what you told me." We look forward to seeing what God can do with a few well-trained evangelists in Luanshya!

For the past few weeks Sherry has been planning a "Community Fair" in Luanshya for 3rd August in order for local merchants to present their businesses and get to meet one another. This was also a way for them to meet us! We invited anyone who wanted to come and set up booths around park in the middle of town last Monday. The biggest booth was right next to the entrance where a choir from one of the churches sang several times a day. Right in the middle of the booths was the Child Evangelism Fellowship presentation. Twice during the day CEF conducted a "Bible Club" for the children and gave each child a book. We also gave each child a book. Many of their parents were there had a chance to meet us. Sherry assigned me to oversee the games for the children and youth. We did typical community fair activities including 3-legged races, sack races and an egg toss. This was mostly just for fun, but getting to meet people was also a part of the plan. We made several contacts and will be able to follow up on many of them in the next few weeks. With the EE Training we will have an opportunity for our church leaders to make contact as well.

Next week I will attending a Bible Conference in another small town in Zambia about 2 hours from Luanshya. This is being hosted by local Zambian churches and I was invited to participate. It is always great to see local Christians initiate and run programs for believers. This is what we came to do – Train national leaders to lead! The conference will be from Monday through Friday. It promises to be interesting. I will let you know how it went in a couple of weeks.

Few things are more exciting than leading someone to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Training someone else to do that is on that list. Through the EE seminar, Community outreach and Bible conferences we have an opportunity to reach out to those who do not know the answer to the question: "Have you come to the place in your life where you know for certain that if you died today that you would go to Heaven?" Because of your faithfulness to this ministry we can not only ask the question, but we can show the answer from the Word of God. Thank you for your support!

Together in His Service,
Patrick & Sherry