The 7th Eastern Province Reformed Conference

The 7th Eastern Province Regional Reformed Conference was held from April 23rd to 27th, 2012, in Chitawe at Chitawe Basic School. The theme of the conference was: “Arise and Build the Church”, taken from Nehemiah 2:17. All nine churches in eastern province were well represented. Approximately 150 people attended the conference. The preacher was Pastor Oswald Sichula of Bonaventure Baptist Church, Lusaka. Pastor Sichula explained this theme in four subheadings: 1. Separation from the world is by repenting of our sins and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. 2. Jesus Christ was the wall that provided security and protection. 3. Each one of us has work to do in building the church regardless of our status. 4. Systematic planning. On the poverty syndrome of the church members, which most pastors gave as a reason why their churches were poor, Pastor Sichula explained that this was because the pastors were acting as though they were more merciful than God. “Arise and Build the Church” involves every Christian without exception. The teaching was a challenge and encouragement to all.

Lovemore Banda

Grace Baptist Church, Petauke

The 4th Copperbelt Couples Conference

The 4th Copperbelt Couples Conference took place on June 2nd, 2012. The preacher was Pastor Conrad Mbewe of Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka. The conference theme was a catchy one, “Marriage.com”, deliberately designed to bring to the fore a phenomena that is afflicting many marriages today, i.e. couples who are living apart, separated by distance. We had a conference attendance of 131.

Pastor Mbewe handled the theme in three sessions, bringing forth the biblical principles of marriage as God intended it. In the first session, he dealt with “The purpose of marriage as God intended it to be.” Expounding Genesis 2:18–25, he brought out three biblical purposes for contriving marriage: (1) Partnership — He cited Genesis 2:18 and brought out the truth that Adam was not lonely but alone in the work and needed an assistant. Marriage thus brings in the concept of the wife being an assistant to the husband. It entails living together and not apart. (2) Pleasure — He brought out the poetic exclamation of Adam when he received Eve from the hand of the Creator (vv.21–25). This indicated his joy at seeing her and this was intended for their pleasure, which culminated in their sexual union (v24). This too requires living together and not apart. (3) Procreation — apart from partnership and pleasure, God intended to fill the earth via the union of the man and woman. Prominent to this agenda is the raising of children in the family set up, where female nurturing of the young is brought out and the male aspect of teaching is emphasised. These responsibilities call for couples living together and not apart.

The second session saw participants being separated into groups to discuss different scenes that depicted couples living apart and the different problems that arose from their situations. Each group was given an opportunity afterwards to present their findings and resolutions to the august house.

In the third session, Pastor Mbewe highlighted reasons that would force couples to live apart. He cited both biblical and non-biblical reasons. The following are some of the summaries. Biblical reasons: (1)War times (Deuteronomy 24:5). When army duties called for men to go out and defend the nations, couples were made to live apart. This applied to older couples only. An injunction was put in for newly married men to be given a year of being exempted from army duties. Thus, the Scripture safeguarded against allowing the newly married from living apart even in time of military demands. (2) Prayer and religious commitment (1 Corinthians 7:5–7) was another reason that would cause couples to live apart but this should be for a period and must be agreed upon by the respective couples. However, the challenge of how long is long or how short is short in this situation will continue to exercise our minds. Non-biblical and yet genuine reasons: (1) Career development or work progression. (2) Employer transfers that result in a couple separating due to change of town. (3) Indebtedness that disallows a couple from relocating to another town together, etc.

The question was on how long a couple may remain apart for these and many other of such reasons. The question was dicey. To resolve them required wisdom. It called for concerted wisdom in decision making. However, Pastor Mbewe suggested that the man as head of the wife was called upon to head, lead and provide for the family. On the other hand, living apart had inherent negative ramifications that must be taken into account in decision-making. The following were some of them: (a) There was a tendency for a couple to grow apart while living apart. (b) Living together was constructive where as living apart is destructive. (c) Depriving one another of God’s gift of sex consistently had the obvious ramifications of sexual entanglements and sexual suspicions, which were detrimental to any relationship. (d) God’s given efficiency for a couple would not be put to good use or be realised, for the Scripture says, “Two are better than one” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–12). (e) Opportunity to raise children together would be missed. One partner may lose out, and this may affect the children in character formation.

Pastor Mbewe concluded by suggesting that earthly marriage should be like Jesus’s ideal marriage of being together forever!

Emmanuel Sakala

Fairview Reformed Baptist Church, Mufulira

The 7th Southern Province Reformed Conference

The 7th Southern Province Reformed Conference was held from July 1st to 2nd, 2012 in Livingstone, hosted by Trinity Baptist Church. The preacher for the conference was Pastor Isaac Makashinyi of Emmasdale Baptist Church in Lusaka. The conference had four topics and these were: (1) Generation curses; (2) Positive thinking; (3) Sowing the seed; and (4) Anointing oil and holy water. The topics were well expounded by the preacher and greatly appreciated by the people because of the enlightenment they received on the topics.

Though this year’s attendance dropped slightly compared to previous years, the four Reformed Baptist churches in Southern Province were well represented: Mazabuka Central Baptist Church, Monze Reformed Baptist Church, Choma Central Baptist Church, and the host, Trinity Baptist Church of Livingstone. There is a need for us to double our efforts in inviting people for next year’s conference. We are grateful to all the churches, which rendered their support towards the organising of the conference, including the sponsorship of the preacher. Our anticipation and prayer is for good attendance next year. We also pray that many may come to the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through such events. We thank you all for your generous support. May the good Lord continue blessing you.

Michael Bwembya

Trinity Baptist Church, Livingstone 

The 13th Antioch Youth Conference

Kabwata Baptist Church Senior Youth Ministry hosted the Antioch Youth Conference on 2nd and 3rd July 2012 at Kabwata Baptist Church. This marked 13 years of the Lord’s continued blessings upon this conference. Each year comes with its own unique blessings; and this year was no exception. The conference theme was “Repent or Perish!”; and the speakers were Pastor Kabwe Kabwe (Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Ndola) and Mr James Williamson (Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka). Both speakers preached from Luke chapter 13, as they laboured to show the necessity of repentance and the inevitable consequence of not turning to Christ in faith and repentance.

Mr Williamson took the first two sessions. The main thrust of his message in the first session was to show what the right response to tragedy should be. He stressed that all are as sinful as any upon whom calamity falls and that calamity in this age should ultimately remind us of the coming judgment and thus of the need for repentance. In the second session, he drew lessons from the parable of the fig tree. He showed why God demands repentance, saying that God has uniquely invested in us and thus expects a return (fruit) from his investment. The chief fruit he desires to see is repentance and if this fruit is not borne in us he will visit us in judgment.

On the second day, Pastor Kabwe preached on the danger of being in the church but outside the kingdom of God. It was a warning to those who have a form of godliness and are familiar with the things of God and yet are still unconverted. He emphasised that unless one comes to a personal knowledge of Christ, all religious duties done in this age will avail for nothing on the Day of Judgment.

The last session was another warning to those who think they are Christians because they are connected to those who are connected to Christ. Like the Jews, he showed how many in this day depend on their connection to a Bible-believing church, Christian family, etc., as a means of entering heaven. This is deception! Repentance and faith in Christ are the only means of entering heaven.

On both days, seminars were held in the afternoons. The first was by Mr. Williamson on “Youth and Media” and the second was by Pastor Kabwe on “Youth and Pornography.”

Edward Chata

Kabwata Baptist Church, Lusaka

Monametsi Bahudi—Our New Missionary To Botswana

(From our editor’s blog)

Sunday, July 1, 2012, was yet another milestone at Kabwata Baptist Church, as we set apart yet another missionary into the great spiritual harvest field. This time it was a national from Botswana, and he was being sent back to his own people to plant churches under the banner “Central Baptist Church”, starting with Central Baptist Church, Gaborone. His name is Monametsi Bahudi. We would value our praying for him. Below is his testimony of salvation and calling to the full time preaching ministry.

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Testimony of salvation

I came to faith in Jesus Christ during the month of July in 1992. A gentleman who did not give me any breathing space but kept inviting me for Christian meetings had been pursuing me for some time. On this occasion I finally went with him because he had been so insistent. During the meeting, the sermon that was preached was about Naaman and his issue of leprosy. I became convicted of my own sin that could only be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I believed on Jesus as my personal Saviour. The delivery of the sermon and the call to repentance were predominantly Arminian but I genuinely believed. I spent some time not affiliating to any church, as there was such a strong debate on which church was the correct one. I only joined a Baptist church in 1994 through baptism and I began to experience true growth.

In 1995 there were some Southern Baptist missionaries in the church who must have embraced Reformed theology. They isolated about five of us young men (including Bonang Lekoba) and began to teach us doctrines, which I now know to be the doctrines of grace. I enjoyed them and began to teach them to other youths. I was a leader for the youth group in the church and also began to preach when our pastor (Benjamin Kabika of Gaborone Baptist Church) asked me to. I soon became competent at preaching even though I cringe when I listen to what I taught in those days because of either the doctrinal errors or emptiness in the sermons.

In 2003, I worked in Francistown and was included on the preaching roster. Somehow, I was given more preaching slots than the other men. The church seemed to have a soft spot for my confident emptiness in the pulpit. Maybe even this emptiness was better than the “fullness” that others had! When I moved back to Gaborone, I was effectively an associate pastor in the church, which exposed me to the closer scrutiny. At that time the church wanted to register with the government and so we had to fill in some forms, which required us to put down our beliefs. This is what opened a Pandora’s box of diverse beliefs in the church. To cut the long story short, I realized that I my beliefs were incompatible with those of the church, especially in the areas of church government and the authority of the Bible. Fellowship became increasingly difficult as many members of the church felt that I was a heretic and was preaching the doctrines of the devil.

I finally joined Central Baptist Church in July 2004 when it was just being formed. We were finally registered with the government in 2005.

Sense of call to the ministry

The Bible teaches that when a man desires the office of elder he desires a good thing. For sometime now I felt that this was the call and desire for my life but I often suppressed it, especially in 2005/6 when we were hoping to get Mr Nsenduluka as our church-planting pastor. I looked forward to being under a Reformed elder who would guide me on how I can really be sure that God was calling me.  With the passing of time, this desire got stronger and clearer. When we could not finally get Mr Nsenduluka and began to look for someone else, this desire was growing in me. However, I avoided mentioning it to my fellow leaders (Katongo Nkamba and Phanuel Mweemba) for fear of presumption. When Ted Vinatieri—an elder from Grace Fellowship in Pennsyvania, USA—came to visit us, I had a long chat with him about it. It became even clearer that I am the servant that God wants to use to lead Central Baptist Church in Gaborone.

Since then I have been trying to deal with my blind spots. The church has affirmed my preaching and leadership gifts for some time now and I feel more confident that God has called me. I am planning my exit from my full time government service some time next year so that I can devote more time to the church.

My family

I am married to Tshoganetso and God has blessed us with four wonderful daughters. We are also fostering my late sister’s son.  Our first daughter is 15 years old and is doing Form Two. She is a very reserved person and very quiet. Eunice Ikanyeng is 12 years old and doing Standard Seven. She is not quiet at all. She is vibrant. Abigail is going to be 6 next December. Finally, we have Rene who will be two years old in October. Ignicious is 18 years old. He is doing Form Four. He is a very respectful boy.

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We are grateful to our sister churches and partners who have joined hands with us ever since we started planting churches in Botswana in 2004. Botswana is hard ground, spiritually. We now have three churches—in Gaborone, Francistown, and Orapa—but they are all still in diaper stage. This is our third attempt to send a missionary there, the first having been Kapambwe Nsenduluka (a Zambian) and the second being Bonang Lekoba (a national of Botswana). We are under no delusion that the devil will yield ground easily this time. We ask you to pray for Pastor Bahudi that God will use him far beyond our wildest dreams. We know that in answer to your prayers, God can do it!