Off to Church in Solwezi which is about half hour away from the Mutanda Lodge. Smiling, the owner Lesley sees us off. The last mile or two into the neighborhood where the church building is located is very difficult to drive. With the rains, the road has huge puddles that vehicles must plow through. Huge anthills that are stories high are off to the side of the road, with children playing on them.
We finally arrive at the church hall. Next to our church hall a Seventh Day Adventist Church is holding its own Sabbath meeting. Children are sitting around and singing. So, we have two neighboring Sabbath-keeping congregations with services in progress.
At church we’re met by Rodrick and Patricia Epomba, one of the leaders. Then Chonga Chonga, the French-speaking deacon.
We get the service started. Derrick Pringle gives greetings and announcements. I like the practice of exchanging greetings with the various congregations and us giving news of our Thursday meeting in Mufulira.
The services are translated from English to Kaonde here. This is yet another language. Every congregation we visit, the language changes. There are upwards of 72 different local languages spoken in Zambia. On this journey to the NW, we encounter four of them and my sermons have now been translated into a different language on each stop.
The special music was the church choir. At first, only the ladies were on the stage and sang the first stanza of the music. Then men started singing in the audience in harmony. Then they got up one by one and joined the women on the stage and the song ended with a full choir singing. I thought it very classy and it helped to make the music so special. The music director is Yvonne Epomba, who seems to really enjoy this role.
Notable people encountered at services that I had known before were Steven, Dina Epomba, Alex Epomba, Yvonne Epomba (the mother of the other three Epombas), Mephias Kanthumoya, secondary school teacher who was one of our scholarship recipients, and, of course, Rodrick and Patricia Epomba. Patricia is graduating in a few months and hopes to be a primary school teacher. Yvonne Epomba’s husband died a few months ago. Rodrick Epomba is the leading member of the Solwezi congregation and has gone to two leadership seminars in Kitwe last December and in Lusaka before that. . . both with Darris McNeely. We have high hopes for him.
After the service, there was a meeting with women who were going to a special Women’s Enrichment Weekend. There will be three such meetings in the country where all the women will be able to go to one. The women here will go to Mufulira and this will be overseen by Delphine Banda. Attendance is very good.
We do not stay very long after church because we need to get to the Mufumbwe area. A lot of things were offloaded from Derrick’s truck that included bags of cement, a door frame, a podium and other miscellaneous items.
One more thing. This church had been broken into not too long ago and the curtains and chairs were stolen. This is our fourth break-in of church properties in the past few months. We have to take stringent precautions. . . such as building fences or walls to keep people out. A fence is going to be built around the church property.
The string of churches across NW is impressive. Each has its own building and each is truly a community church. All the people walk or live a short distance away.
Christopher Ndunguyonga from the Mufumbwe congregation will come here to conduct the Passover service this coming Thursday.
The drive to Mufumbwe is about two hours. As usual, I doze off in the car. The road is good. The clouds the last few days of driving have been spectacular day and night. Big, billowy masses of vapor unlike what I’ve ever seen.
Derrick is a terrific driver avoiding potholes on the highway, as well as goat kids and human kids. There are so many people just walking on the main highway.
We arrive at the Chilemo Orphans Club and meet Joseph Kapatula, the founder. We all go over the Church hall about a mile or so away. The last stretch of road is VERY bad. There is a stretch that will bog down almost any car, but with four-wheel drive, Derrick gets through. This is the place we got stuck at last year and had to be pushed with the congregation coming out to give us a push.
We are greeted by a children’s choir and flowers. They sing “Suffer the Children.” It is so sweet. Then a young girl by the name of Lister Chikunga steps out with a welcoming speech for me as the President of the Church. She is nine years old. Bev recorded this very bold little speech.
We meet with Lazarous who graduated from Nursing School nine months ago but has not been placed yet. It is discouraging to all of us and we pray that he will find work in his field.
We talk to him and Joseph Kapatula. They both would like to visit the United States, but we discourage it as they probably will not be able to get visas, because of the way things have been going with foreigners visiting the United States of late.
Joseph’s orphanage has been raising chickens, but they need a van for further distribution of their output.
Bev and I stay at the church hall. Derrick has built a room on at the end with a bathroom. We call it the “Mufumbwe Luxury Lodge” or MLL. We like it. There is no electricity, however. Electricity is supposed to be strung through this area in the next week or so and has been delayed by heavy rains. We found out that there is also no electricity in the Mufulira building and that the electrified fence is solar. Derrick and Cherry are staying at a guest house in town. A generator supplies us electricity. We have a gas stove to give us hot water in the AM.