Lessons From Zambia
As most of you know, Sally and I were a part of a [ministry team] which the Lord sent. . .to Zambia in southern Africa. After sharing in the second largest city, Kitwe, all our team was flown by small missionary plane run up to the uppermost, northwest corner of the nation to a place called Mwinilunga. On the grounds of a Bible school out in the “bush”, plans had been made for a “General Bush Conference.” We got into the compound a day early, and already 4,000 to 5,000 Africans had gathered, where the plans had been made for only 3,000 people. Before the conference began, this number had grown to almost 7,000 natives.
In the next few days we saw the fulfillment of the words of Jesus when he said, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be FILLED.” Many of these people had trekked up to 40 and 50 miles on foot with loads on their heads and babies on their backs. Hundreds had spent out of their sparse earnings. . .to hire rickety buses and trucks to haul them from as far away as 600 miles. A few came across the borders from neighboring countries, Zaire and Angola. All of the people came without any knowledge of how or what they would eat.
BUT THEY WERE FED! Not so much on mealy meal and potatoes, but on a real Spiritual food. Hundreds were brought into salvation; thousands were filled with the Holy Spirit; at least 2,000 received some form of healing; and at least the same number were set free from the curses of the witch doctors and from all sorts of witchcraft.
Here’s my first lesson. I’m not hungry enough because I am OVER-FED! These native Africans had only had a taste of the Word and Spirit -“O, taste and see that the Lord is good!” Committed European and American white missionaries, ostracized by their own churches, remain[ed] on the field without any assurance of monetary or physical support, moving all over this vast bush country, spreading the Word in a hostile environment, planting the seeds of the truth taught in the Gospels and the epistles of the New Testament, letting the people know that God the Holy Spirit was still very much alive and present; clearly stating to the Africans that witch doctors and witchcraft and curses were NOT merely the products of their own superstitions, but were, in reality, the instruments of Satan.
And the lives of the people were ENRICHED, not by praying for the prosperity [that] we in Western Society seek after, but by submitting themselves to the ministry of deliverance from their Deliverer Jesus Christ.
When I’m over-fed, I become LAZY. When I’m over-fed, I become COMPLACENT. When I’m over-fed, I become selfish, SELF-CENTERED. When I’m over-fed, I enter into COMPROMISE. And I lose the POWER that is mine through the indwelling HOLY SPIRIT, thus diluting the effectiveness of the gifts God has given me.
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 39, June 1984.