It was an absolute joy and an huge encouragement to us to have Denzil Abrahams join us in ministry for a whole week! Denzil came to Lusaka for my ordination service and stayed with us a full week afterwards. It was a normal week of ministry which Denzil got to experience with us. I am so glad that he got the chance to share our lives with us and our ministry at REACH-Zambia. I trust it was as much a blessing for him as it was for us.
A Friend that sticks closer than a brother
Denzil is a dear brother in Christ, a mentor to me, and a great example of selfless service to others. I learned a lot from him during my 2-year curacy at Tokai Community Church serving under him in men’s ministry. Denzil used to read the Bible with me one-to-one and taught me the importance of reading the Bible with others.
The Week of ministry in a nutshell
Sunday to Monday
Preparation for Sunday morning service is normally quite frantic as we prepare and print, pack and load, pick up people and setup music instruments, practice songs, take a breath, and then start the service. Mondays we have GYD training with Felix and Paul as well as GWC prep for Rasford and Titus.
Tuesday to Wednesday
Tuesdays Renée attends (sometimes leads) a Women’s Bible study and I meet Rasford Zulu to read the Bible with him and then spend time with David who is not yet a believer, but enjoys discussing and debating the Bible. Wednesday is a busy day – we are out meeting people from midday to 20h00. We meet one-to-one with various people. I meet with Paul Ngoma and then Felix Mulenga whilst Renée meets with Agatha Mulenga and sometimes Dyness Ngoma. Our busy Wednesday afternoon ends with the Matero Growth Group in the evening.
Thursday to Saturday
On Thursday afternoons, Renée meets Eliel Kayumba whilst I meet Titus Chifita for one-to-one discipleship. Our dearly loved Ngombe Growth Group meets on Thursday evening and is always a fruitful time of studying the Bible together. Friday mornings we attend the SIM-Zambia weekly prayer meeting from 09h00-11h00. These are really encouraging moments spent in devotion and prayer. I always come away from these meetings feeling refreshed. Friday afternoon is focussed on finalising preparation for Sunday. Saturday is our off day which we use to try to catch our breath.
Braai Ministry – prep for ordination
The ordination service was on Saturday 18 November. Denzil arrived on Friday together with Bryan & Sharon Moyles, Glenn Lyons, and Martin Morrison. We had a lovely braai (similar to a ‘barbecue’, but better) together for dinner. Denzil and Bryan then helped me to braai 200 peices of boerewors (South African sausage) for the ordination fellowship lunch.
Prep for Sunday Service
Since Saturday was so busy with prep for the ordination service, we had to make an early start on Sunday morning. Renée had to get the Kid’s worksheets printed. She prepares worksheets for three age-groups. I had to prepare and print the song-sheets, music sheets, and order of service. The music instruments (piano, guitar, and drum), prayer books, usher’s basket, and the Kid’s ministry basket all had to be packed into the vehicle.
Renée and I had to share a computer since her’s was still broken. This really slowed us down. We felt quite pressured to get everything ready in such a short a space of time. Denzil got to witness us working together under pressure. He also helped us to fix the broken computer.
Heading to Church
Denzil and I left at 08h00 in the Noah (8-seater Toyota) to pick up some of our church members from Ngombe. Ngombe is one of the many compounds of Lusaka. It is always a joy to pick up the Kalala family and the Chashi family together with the friends they have invited to church. We arrived at the Golden Peacock Hotel at 08h25 so that we can set up for church and practice music.
Renée came with our other guests in the Toyota Hiace van that we hired from SIM-Zambia. She was just in time for music practice at 08h30. Renée is an absolute blessing to me!
It was so lovely to have Glenn preaching at our church. His sermon “The Wise Believer” from 1 Corinthians was a huge encouragement to us – and to some it was a rebuke. Bryan (& Sharon) had opportunity to bring greetings to the church and share some prayer requests. The visit from these representatives of TCC have been a massive blessing to our church in Zambia.
Monday Farewells and Ministry
First farewells then ministry
It was a bit of a sad day on Monday since Glenn, Bryan, and Sharon were heading back to Cape Town. We stopped by at Africa Christian University (ACU) to greet Paul Kayumba and visit the campus briefly. Glenn then treated us all for breakfast at the Brew Me café on the way to the airport. There were teary-eyed moments as they headed back. The consolation for us was that Denzil would be staying with us for another week! Yay!
GYD studies and GWC preparation
On Monday evenings Paul Ngoma and Felix Mulenga come to our home for online Growing Young Disciples (GYD) training together with Renée. Whilst they are learning together online in one room, I take Rasford Zulu and Titus Chifita through some preparation for their intense academic studies at George Whitefield College (GWC) next year.
Denzil had opportunity to get to know these leaders-in-training and to encourage them with his own testimony of his theological journey in becoming a pastor.
Tuesday Garden Ministry
We visited Rasford Zulu at his garden near the Chingwele Cemetery where he grows tomatoes and onions. I meet Rasford weekly on Tuesdays to have lunch with him and to read the Bible together. I don’t often go to his garden (we normally meet at Novare Great North Mall). Since we had leftovers from the ordination we heated some boerewors rolls up on a gas stove and enjoyed lunch together under a tree.
Rasford’s friend Lubinda joined us for lunch and fellowship. We had a great time of reading the Bible together and discussing the application to our lives. We were in 1 Timothy 3 which talks about the qualifications for overseers (presbyters) and deacons.
After our time with Rasford and Lubinda, we moved on to David’s (pseudonym) nursery. I have been meeting with David weekly. He doesn’t attend church and has been resistant to Christianity. However, through our weekly discussions about God and the Bible, he is slowly becoming more excited about Jesus! Denzil and I sat on the side of the road by SOS roundabout and had animated discussions about the Bible. David is still fascinated by what we spoke about last time we met: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
Wednesday Matero Ministry
On Wednesdays I meet with Paul Ngoma at 13h30, Felix Mulenga at 15h30, and then lead a Growth Group at 17h30.
Hungry for the Word – surprise guests!
We met Paul Ngoma at our usual meeting place, Matero Hungry Lion where we had our usual chicken and chips for lunch whilst catching up on life. This Wednesday, God had a surprise for us since we were going to have/be surprise guests. After our meal we decided to go sit in the car under the shade of a tree since the music was too loud at Hungry Lion (often it is quiet enough for us to read the Bible together, but not always). However, as I was getting ready to rearrange the vehicle’s chairs so that three of us could face each other as we study the Bible, Ngoma suggested something else. He suggested that we go to the school where he teaches and use one of the classrooms there.
Having arrived at the school, we were introduced to the principal (Robbie) and his wife (Faith). They welcomed us warmly. We were their surprise guests as they weren’t expecting us. They were very keen to join us in reading and discussing the Bible together. Thus, they became surprise guests at our Bible study. We had such a wonderful time discussing Galatians 3:1-14 we were late for our next appointment.
Coffee with Mulenga
We rushed from Ngoma’s school to Lusaka Ministerial College to pick up Felix Mulenga since I normally meet with him at 15h30. We sat and had a cappuccino as we discussed life in ministry and applied the Bible to some of the challenges we wrestle with.
Matero Growth Group
After picking up the Mulenga clan from their home, we went to Rasford’s home for the Matero Growth Group. There are about 12 regular attendees in this group. This evening, like always, we had a fruitful discussion around God’s Word. We discussed 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5.
We finally got home around 20h00 and had leftover boerewors rolls for supper.
Thursday Ngombe Ministry
Ngombe, Chamba Valley, and East Park Mall are all on the East of where we live. So we have arranged these ministry opportunities around Ngombe on Thursdays. Denzil and I went to Chamba Valley (adjacent to Ngombe) to meet with Titus over lunch. Renée went to East Park Mall to meet with Eliel for discipleship and coffee. I heated up some boerewors over the gas stove and we enjoyed leftover boerewors rolls (again). We then read Colossians 4:7-18 and had a very encouraging discussion about the passage. We ended our time in praying for each other.
Ngombe Growth Group
The Ngombe Growth Group is always a huge encouragement to us. Ngombe is one of the poorer communities in Lusaka. We meet in a very humble home, but we are warmly welcomed. Denzil, Renée, and I were really blessed by the questions that were asked and the answers offered as we discussed the Bible. Moses Kalala (14 years old) is a very bright young man and often is the most keen to answer the questions. He has a keen desire to see God’s Word proclaimed in his community.
Friday Prayers and Preparation
At our SIM-Zambia Friday morning prayers (09h00-11h00) Denzil brought a devotion from Psalm 27. We all had opportunities to share our prayer requests with the group and hear those of others. We committed all these requests to God with thanksgiving for all His goodness to us. These weekly prayer meetings are a great encouragement to us.
Friday afternoon was spent in focussed preparation for Sunday service so that we can protect Saturday as our day off. Denzil worked on final changes to his sermon. I worked on the order of service, the song sheet, and preparing music for worship.
After the busy week, we ended Friday evening playing some table tennis. This is a whole lot of fun. Denzil is very good at this game. Saturday morning, however, I beat him at his own game – golf. I haven’t played golf in decades! I have been considering getting into golf recently. Denzil took this as an opportunity to take me out for a game of golf. It was great fun – even though I wasn’t hitting the ball too well. I think I only beat Denzil (by one Stableford point) because of the generous handicap of 28 he gave me.
Saturday evening we attended a Thanksgiving dinner hosted at the Shaffer’s home on the SIM mission base. This was a wonderful time of reflecting on God’s goodness to us. My biggest item of thanks was Denzil’s visit with us this week. He has been such an encouragement to us. Since he was representing our home church, his presence reminds us of the great gratitude we owe to Tokai Community Church for the love and support we receive and enjoy.
Sunday Service Repeat…
On Sunday, the whole week-cycle begins to repeat itself. It begins with our church service. This week was a special service though since we had a guest preacher. It was such a great joy to have Denzil preach the Word to us here in Lusaka. Last week Glenn preached and now this week Denzil. Wow! what a huge blessing. Our congregation has been immensely encouraged by the love and support of TCC shown through their pastors coming to visit us and preach at our church.
Denzil preached a very moving evangelistic sermon on the Jailer’s Story from Acts 16:16-34. After the service, a visitor, being touched by the message asked for prayer and committed his life to Jesus and declared his decision to make this church his home church. Please pray for Christopher that God will continue to work in his life.