March and April were jammed packed namely with preparation of our yearly conference. Pictures are in the following posts...
Visit From Dave. What made this year particularly special is that we had a visitor before the actual conference. Dave Petersen, a classmate from Greater Grace Christian Academy and long time friend, came to visit us for 2 weeks. Dave and I have worked together on numerous occasions and he and his family would often encourage our family as we planned to return to the missionfield. He wanted to come and see what everyday life was like at the church here. We did visits, taught Bible college classes, evangelism, prayer meetings. It was a great time. What really topped it off was on the day before Dave was leaving; we went looking for souvenirs for his family. At one particular store we walked through, Dave looked like he recognized someone. Then out of the blue, Dave yells, “Tim Hilty!” Tim looked at Dave in disbelief – it was a Divine Appointment. Dave and Tim had studied abroad for a semester in Tanzania 10 years earlier. Now Tim and his wife were organizing an Aids Educational Organization here. It was so cool to witness such an impossibility knowing with God such things are commonplace.
New Church. We officially opened our 5th Church in Lusaka! GGOK – Greater Grace Church of Kanyama. Kanyama is one of the most populated areas in the city. It is a residential area just behind the main market. For years people have asked us to open a branch there. God was just waiting on the man. That man was Martin Koti, an assistant to Pr. Nelson in the Chawama church. Pr. Martin lives in Kanyama and has a small business in the local market. Once a week during the lunch hour he would do a Bible study with others selling in the market. After 2 years of investing he began having the study in his back yard. It got so full they had to rent a hall, thus the beginning of the church.
Zamcon! We always pray that every year our conference will be better in both attendance and quality. God always answers our prayers in Ephesians 3:20 fashion. This year was truly a milestone. Pr Renaldo had a vision that the churches would fund the conference for the first year without outside financing. The conference we do is at a boarding school within the city, so it is like a conference and camping trip in one. All the members bring their blankets, bowls, and cups and stay in the boarding school for three days while the kids are on vacation. We rent the main hall of the school for the meetings and hire the school cooks to cook for us. Amazingly, every church took on different areas to raise funds to provide for the conference and God came through using His people. Pr. Scibelli came as the guest speaker and God anointed every message. God brought more people than we ever had for Graduation night – 600! Also 4 men were ordained. Pr. Ray Kosiolek and Pr. Jon Herb brought a group of 7 from Carlisle, Pennsylvania as they do every year faithfully. And Pr. Jabulani from South Africa came with 6 as they also do faithfully every year. We were so encouraged. Also one thing we can count on is the moment Pr. Scibelli sets foot in Zambia, our children’s sugar level skyrockets. I guess it his grandparental instinct. Our girls renamed Zamcon to be Ice Cream Con.
Malawi. Almost as soon as we said the last “Amen” of Zamcon, 3 of us made our way to Lilongwe, Malawi to visit the contacts we have made over the past year. We prayed that God would give us a special visit that would be very personal. Pr Albert Ntalasha (who has been a missionary in Congo) and Pr. Enoch Muchindu joined me as we went. God gave Pr. Albert the verse from Mark 10:30 saying that whoever forsakes houses or land for the calling of God would receive 100-fold in this life and the life to come. We considered that to mean that we would gain brothers and sisters in the family of God who would welcome us into their homes. That is exactly what happened. We asked some of our contacts if we could visit their homes on this trip and all agreed with joy. We went to 3 families’ homes and ate with them. It was an incredible time of fellowship. At the end of the trip we had our meeting in the same hall that we rented last year. This time those three contacts brought their whole families to the meeting. In Luke 24:43, the disciples were fearful of the resurrected Christ until He sat with them and ate with them. Then they identified with Him and their hearts were put at ease – the power of visitation. Pray for us as we feel that Malawi is the next step for the Arman family. We are believing God to be in Malawi with a new church by Fall 2012.