From Oregon to... Zambia?
When I was young child, God put Africa in my heart. I was sent to Zambia through the Peace Corps nine years ago. When my contract of three years finished, God asked me to stay in the town of Mansa to help children and young girls. I always knew we would plant a church here in Mansa Zambia at some point but I did not know it would happens this fast! I work with Pastor Francis Mwansa who is a local pastor here in Mansa. He decided he wanted to leave his church and become a Free Methodist pastor. This was in August. At first his bishops told him to keep the church building but then at the very last minute changed their mind. We decided to start services at the school we have been building and held our first service a few days later.
In just seven weeks we have gone from 50 people to 230! Church plant growth like this is unheard of in Zambia. This is the only church in the village so I expect that number to continue to increase. The church outgrew the classroom within the first month and had to split into two separate but simultaneous services, one service for the adults and one service just for the children.
In September I was able to connect with the Free Methodist Church in Zambia. All three superintendents came so we could work out the details of officially becoming a Free Methodist Church. It was a very successful weekend of meetings. We signed documents to affiliate the church to Free Methodist with firm plans to become a full Free Methodist church in one year. Plans were even made for us to create our own conference in the future since we are the first and only Free Methodist Church in this part of the country! Pastor Francis and his wife were received as our first members. And Pastor Francis and I were appointed as pastors of the church.
God has already done the impossible with this church and I am excited to see how this is going to impact and change the community! God moved so fast, we still have not had time to name the church. We are still in the early stages of appointing leaders, training members, and working out the challenges of a new village church. And since the church is growing so fast, planning a building to fit everyone!
On behalf of Pastor Francis and our church here in Mansa... Thank you to the Oregon Conference for your prayers and support. Pastor Jeff Getsinger and Pastor Di Endicott (Northside Community Church - Newberg) helped set things in motion when they visited in June to encourage Pastor Francis and the community. Northside was also a huge help when we needed to quickly purchase chairs and a sound system! We are so excited to be a part of the Free Methodist Family and look forward to being partners to expand the Kingdom of God!