We have just returned to base on Rapid 14 after a week of ministry in Masukatwane, Sekute, in the Southern province of Zambia.
Every day, our team of 20 people divided into groups and went from home to home to minister the Gospel.
We saw MANY people come to Christ for the first time, and as many healed from sickness and diseases, and delivered from the bondage of witchcraft and other demons.
On Sunday, the first full day of our expedition, my team and I walked 10km (so, 20km in total) from our camping spot to church, which was supposed to be just beyond the next tree. It wasn’t as far as we had expected to walk, and though it was extremely hot, the walk was certainly worth the effort!
Joey, Fred, Pastor Felix, myself, Jackson, Dominic and Samuel made our way to the Pentecostal church in Mutatosi Village. When we arrived, there was no one there. One of the children quickly ran to fetch the pastor where he was labouring in his fields. It immediately reminded me of the passage from Matthew 9, and the first part of Matthew 10 that says:
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness, when he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”Matthew 9: 35-38
In the first part of Matthew 10, we see that, as Jesus labouring to bring in the harvest, He gave us authority to do the same:
“He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” – Matthew 10:1
Later in this passage, we find Jesus’ specific instructions in sharing this message, carrying His authority:
“As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of God is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” – Matthew 10:7-8
I think, for many, as for myself, a large portion of our first expedition was a school in identity. Despite the fact that I have been on and lead multiple short-term missions over the past 10 years, there is always a moment, or even multiple moments, where the revelation of our identity, our redemption, our acceptance in Him and by Him, our calling, and our purpose is challenged. We may feel overwhelmed, insecure, over-confident, or simply we may never have been in a position outside of our known reality or comfort zone where we were presented with situations or circumstances, we come across in doing home to home ministry. I have come to realise that one of the most important ingredients in discipleship training and ministry is character development – the willingness to grow, to be teachable, to accept instruction, to be available for instruction, shaping and moulding, in that the end-goal is to model the character of Christ. Therefore, as ministers, we do not only carry his authority and His commission, but we are to become like Him, embodying Him to better serve those to whom we are sent.
On this particular Sunday, as I meditated on the Harvest and the Lord of the Harvest, I was again reminded of the simplicity of the Gospel, and how this simple message has the power to shake Nations, and to restore His people to Him.
It wasn’t long before we were seated on rugged benches in the shade of a tree. Members from the community started to gather, and soon we were a church of more than 20 people.
We shared the Good News of the Kingdom, and 12 people responded to the call of Salvation. More than 14 adults were baptized in the Holy Spirit, as were multiple kids.
It reminded me of the church in Acts where God poured out His Spirit, and believers were added to their number on a daily basis.
As people with a western worldview, we often make the Gospel complicated. We have courses and programs for different things; ministering to various needs. While there is nothing wrong with sculpting ministries to serve different needs, as lead and empowered by the Spirit, I am convinced that the Gospel is the WHOLE SOLUTION to ALL of Man’s brokenness. Therefore, in its most basic form, the Gospel is everything we need to be reconciled to God – to know God and to enjoy Him forever.