A Day with the Mufulira people

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Mufulira, Copperbelt Province, Zambia
We drove to services in Mufulira at the new church building about an hour away.  We were here exactly a year ago and dedicated this building on April 8, 2018.  The building is a perfect structure for this size congregation.  It sits on 13 acres of property in Mufulira.  We are getting quite knowledgeable of this territory, the Pringle’s home, the roads, the Copperbelt.  It is no longer a big unknown.
Today was a special meeting with the Church scheduled for 11 am.  We conducted a typical Sabbath service as the people love to sing. The Church bus left the Pringle’s property at 8 am to pick up two groups of people. The process takes 3-4 hours in bringing them to the Church hall.  It takes that amount of time to get everyone back.  It’s an all day experience.
The property has come a long way in the past year! There are nice plants planted outside the building, including a tall banana tree.  It has been developed into a Feast site and more than 100 people attended from all over the Copperbelt and beyond. Bath houses have been built. A covered eating area sits adjacent to the Church hall.  Walls have also been built.  There is also new electrified fencing installed by Derrick Pringle. We are awed by what we see. 
Services were to start at 11, but nothing happens. The bus arrives about 11:30 with the second load of people. Finally, at 12:15 we started. . . one and a quarter hours late, but it does not seem to matter.
My first speaking part was to talk about what we’re doing here, the Church and our visit to Africa.  My speaking was translated into the Bemba language. After the choir sang beautiful music, I gave the second message, which was an overview of the Passover from pre-history (slain from the foundation of the world) to the reference to Christ as “The Lamb” in Revelation 22:1.
After the service, which ended about 2:00 pm, we had a potluck lunch. It was as good as any church potluck I’ve gone to.  Of course, nsima was king.  The closest thing I can compare it to is grits.  A HUGE pot of it was at the beginning of the line.  The server put a scoop of about a pound each on every plate, man, woman or child. . . maybe a slight exaggeration. I had to ask them to remove about ¾ of it.  Then there was chicken, beef, greens of all sorts, peanuts, salads, etc.  Great lunch!
I had the chance to talk to the deacon Luckson Chongo, who I ordained two years ago.  He was the Feast coordinator for Mufulira. I talked to several others.  I feel that I am well-acquainted with these people! Some of the people we remembered well was the other deacon Luke Banda and his wife Delphine. Gideon, Evans, Samuel and others.  One notable one was Changwa Phiri who said he was almost 90 years old.  Then there were new people to me: twin brothers Baldwin and Rex Kasuva who were 28 years old.
The capacity of the building here is 200 at max.  Then we 60 here for the mid-week meeting.  Some people, we were told, were sick with malaria.
There has been a drought in the Lusaka area as well as points west and south, but up here in the Copperbelt the rains have been good and the harvest, which is about to take place, looks good. 
Then we drove back to the Pringles.   Tomorrow, we drive to Solwezi and stay at our special place at the Mutunda Lodge and then have church services on the Sabbath.  
After Sabbath services we will drive to Mufumbwe and stay at the church building where the Pringles have added on a room and calls this the MLL…the Mufumbwe Luxury Lodge! Then Sunday to Manyinga to dedicate the new church building and have a meeting with the area chief.
The one super high point from the day was to see the growth of the Church in every way. I remember this as being a forlorn Copperbelt group meeting in a dirty school room.  Now, they have a nice building that was constructed by Derrick Pringle’s company. This building was his dream from about 2007 and is now a reality.  It has served as a Feast site for more than 100 people. Some of the financing came from LifeNets and Good Works.  There has also been a growth in leadership in this congregation. It was a good feeling.
Derrick Pringle told me, too, how much this Church and the Copperbelt appreciated Darris and Debbie McNeely’s three-day leadership seminar back in December. It was a great boost. They particularly appreciated the speech sessions and learning how to give sermonettes.
One thing that strikes me is the open discussion of witchcraft, spells, and curses of the dark world. Witch doctors are “normal” in this society.  They even advertise on radio and TV.  The discussion of witchcraft enters into church talk of where and when spirits trouble us. 
We spent the evening on the patio at Derrick and Cherry’s. We grilled chicken and sausage, which they make from lamb. All very tasty. We thoroughly enjoy each other’s company as we prepare for our journey west to Solwezi, Mufumbwe and the new Manyinga congregation. Their parrot, Sparrow, entertains us with conversations he’s picked up on and says the most hilarious things.  How does he do it?  He has no vocal chords! It’s like a recorder playing. . . although recorders don’t have vocal chords either. 
One interesting thing about Derrick is that he has been appointed as “Honorable Wildlife Police Officer,” something similar to what we would call a game warden for this part of the country.  He knows game and even has a game preserve on his property.
There are many local languages spoken here and it’s necessary that my English sermon be translated into one of them.  In Lusaka the language is Nyanja.  The Talama family language is Lossi which is from a region far south and west where they are from. Up in Mufulira where we were today, the language is Bemba.
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