Attendance at the missions conference

The leadership of Bethel Baptist Church in Kabwe decided to start holding missions conferences every year in October after they sent Pastor Samuel Kasonde to plant Mapalo Reformed Baptist Church in Makululu, Kabwe. The aim is to sensitise members on the necessity of evangelism as a core business of the church and to encourage them to give financially to this cause. On Saturday October 20, 2018, Bethel Baptist Church held their first missions conference. In attendance were brethren from Kapiri Mposhi, Pastor Samuel Kasonde and some leaders and new converts from Mapalo Reformed Baptist Church, and some representatives from Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka. We also had support from Pastor German Banda of John Laing Reformed Baptist Church in Lusaka. The attendees were encouraged by Pastor Lawrence Lama from the host
church and Elder Chola Chakonta from Kabwata Baptist Church. Pastor Lama challenged the conference from Acts 1:1–8 on the theme, “Are you sure you are a witness?” He raised a number of points as tabulated below:
(1) Missions work is a divine mandate: It is God’s initiative. It is
approved and commanded by him. It is not of man’s mastermind or ingenuity.
It is not an option for Christians to do and it is not dependent on a huge human force. It is a responsibility that must be done right away.
(2) Missions work must be carried out in the power of God: Since it is
God’s initiative and God’s command, it goes without saying that it must be done in the power of the author of missions and this is God (v8), “But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me.” It is God’s desire, it is God’s command and it is God who empowers his people to do missions work.
(3) Missions work is Christ centred: Jesus made the pronouncement to his disciples and promised them power and authority by the Holy Spirit. The message itself is about Jesus, his work and mission. He is the hope of glory to this lost world. Christ is all in all in missions work.
(4) Missions work is done by God’s witnesses: “You shall be my
witnesses beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Are you a witness of Christ? What testimony or message do you have to the lost world? The extent is not limited. Begin where you are. Go to your neighbourhood and to far-flung places. In churches today, we have many who major in calling people to go to Jerusalem and not going out to preach the word
of God to the world. The movement among the apostles was systematic and well planned at each level. We see them in the book of Acts “upsetting” the world and, as a result, thousands coming to know the saving grace of Christ everywhere. It was not accidental or magic. It was certainly not haphazard.
(5) Mission work is expensive: Those who are on the mission field need our support in every sphere of life and living. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to raise the required support for them to do mission work—and it is not cheap.
We must spend and be spent for the work of God. It has to expand from Jerusalem to the end of the world. How will they get there? By your resources! “I am literally saying, ‘Give generously to the work of missions,’” said Pastor Lama. He emphasised that when we give, our missionaries will gladly do the work knowing their needs are taken care of. He ended his sermon with a challenge on prayer. He challenged those in attendance to be much in prayer so that they can know if they are truly witnesses in this pertinacious world. The
world needs true witnesses of Christ.
After Pastor Lama’s sermon we had reports from Mapalo Reformed
Baptist Church and Grace Reformed Baptist Church, which were presented by Pastors Samuel Kasonde and Manasseh Kaonga, respectively.
Pastor Samuel Kasonde read Psalm 15:1, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory because of your love and your faithfulness.” He outlined his report which he called, “A year’s journey with the Lord in the mission field.” He itemised it under the following: family, sustenance, missions and challenges. He said, “Although the welcome was good and homely, we came to an unknown place where everything was new and strange; places,
people and houses. As if that was not enough, sicknesses and bereavements stretched our newness in this area. We trekked between Luanshya and Kabwe a number of times to attend to family bereavements. God has been very faithful to us as a family and we have seen how he has seen us through by your prayers and gifts. God has so far used you in seeing us through. Your visits to Mapalo
Baptist Church have always been a blessing. You have come in to support our evangelistic efforts in Makululu. You have also visited our family with various gifts and through them (gifts) we have seen the hand of the Lord pointing us ahead and spurring us to go on without looking back.
“From the day we were sent to Makululu we have been forward looking as a farmer who sets his hands on the plough to cultivate the land. We have engaged in door-to-door evangelism and, amazingly, many homes have willingly allowed us in. However, it has been very difficult for some to keep their promise to come to church on Sunday morning. Our experience has been that any home we visit, children tend to come out first to worship with us and then the older people. Our last Easter was a great experience. We had about thirty people in attendance.
“Makululu is a big compound and the houses have no house numbers but streets that are named from Road 1 to Road 18. This poses a lot of challenges in locating homes. Sometimes houses are known by the closest anthill or a hammer-mill or a pub. With this scenario, you can imagine how difficult record keeping is for people who visit our church. Many people in this compound are not in formal employment. The area has two police posts, about three schools, over seventy beer-halls and less than ten churches. The latter are mostly the traditional ones and a few charismatic ones. We are the only Reformed Baptist church so far. We already have eight people in the baptismal class. We covet your prayers that the Lord might complete the work that he began.”
Pastor Manasseh Kaonga shared with us, for our encouragement, how they have used door-to-door evangelism effectively. He, however, pointed out that in the first five long years, only two people were converted and baptised.
The church growth has been very slow owing to the population and the type of town. In the recent years, the town is developing and the population is growing.
The church plant started in November 2011 and in 2016 the church was constituted with sixteen members. Currently the church membership stands at twenty-one with nine men and twelve women; out of which only six are in formal employment. The church runs a vernacular service using Icibemba to accommodate those who cannot understand the English Language. The Bemba service meets earlier before the main service at 09:00 hours.
The church needs to grow in the area of leadership. It is the desire of the church to see God raise up elders and deacons. Pastor Kaonga said that they were currently meeting at a school where there were a number of Charismatic churches. He said, “We own a piece of land within the developmental area of Kapiri Mposhi and have a structure built there that is at roof level. Since we are a ‘baby’ of Kabwata Baptist Church, time is drawing near for us to be weaned
off. This means that the financial support that comes from our mother church will stop coming because we would have fulfilled the time set for this action to be taken. However, the church has plans to request Kabwata Baptist Church to extend the weaning of process to sometime in the coming year.”
Pastor Germany Banda briefly shared with the conference how difficult it is to serve in shanty compounds in Zambia. He pointed out that it is true that the thugs in any town of Zambia are found in these compounds. This is a call for Christians to pray for such places. For those called to ministry and are committed to go to these shanty compounds, they must have a God-given conviction because life there is tough. It is a calling that demands selfless love.

Boston K. Mwandobo
Bethel Baptist Church