Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka and Lynnwood Baptist Church in Pretoria have over the last two years been considering a joint venture to plant a Reformed Baptist Church in Botswana. The Lord has been gracious in answer to the prayers of the saints and finally bringing this dream to reality. The Church was formally launched on 16th May 2004 when the authorities permitted that meetings could start albeit with some restrictions, pending the registration process to complete. The restrictions are that there should be no collections monies and no publicity of activities. We nevertheless are thankful to the Lord for this. The inaugural service, held in Block at Plot No. 36146 TH 11, was taken by the Church’s own missionary pastor Kapambwe Nsenduluka who also took the subsequent two Sunday services. The initial attendance, including children of Sunday school age was about 15 but by the first week of July this number had grown to 27. Evening services started in June and there is a prayer meeting alternating with a Bible study every Wednesday at 1800 hours.

Pastor Kapambwe Nsenduluka, who was set apart for this work by Kabwata Baptist Church on 18th January 2004, resigned his job as Senior Project Metallurgist at the end of April 2004. Because he cannot move on the mission field until the registration formalities are complete and the work permit (which depends upon it) granted, he is currently overseeing the work on a visitors permit which allows him a maximum of 90 days a year. A local leadership team, comprising Phanuel Mweemba (chairman), Katongo Nkamba, and Moses Silweya was put in place to oversee the work in the absence of the pastor. It is sad that Moses is relocating to the UK, but graciously there is a lot of potential in Monametsi Moncho, a national of Botswana, to be a fitting replacement. It is worthy of mention that that Monametsi has been very instrumental in getting the church where it currently is. Besides, he is contemplating fulltime ministry.

The beginnings of Central Baptist Church in Gaborone have however not been without problems. Prominent among them, and a source of many an anxious thought has been the problem of finding a suitable meeting place. After meeting at two different places following the inauguration, a new meeting place to accommodate this number was found at a cost of P2500 per month. We are grateful to the management of BDO for graciously offering their premises through brother Katongo, their employee, while we were looking for a meeting place.

Because we are not permitted to take any collection at the moment, we were unable to raise this rental. Thankfully, the Lord has since the beginning of July graciously provided a more or less permanent meeting place at a college owned by one of the pioneer members to accommodate up to 50 people and extra rooms for Sunday school. This provision has made it possible to begin the Sunday school classes, which hitherto have not been possible. There is no formal membership in place until the registration formalities are over. The publicity restriction has left us with limited evangelistic activity options. At the moment the church depends only on private one on one interaction with the community around. There is a sense in which growth has been curtailed by this restriction. At the moment there are no organised ministries of the church but preparations to start with a Sunday school by August are at very advanced stage.

The restrictions notwithstanding, we are glad to start and our vision still remains: we must plant a vibrant Reformed Baptist Church in Gaborone, which will then be the springboard of many other Reformed Baptist Churches in that country and perhaps the region, considering its fairly stable political and economic situation. The potential is there and also the will to do this too. Like anywhere else, Botswana needs to hear the gospel preached uncompromisingly as the Botswana Gazette News Paper comment of 26th May 2004 put it: “…Wanted, a visionary missionary who can preach fire and brimstone, who can remind us constantly of the hell we have created for ourselves on earth, the inferno that many of us are overlooking and will fall into shortly – unless we repent our ways immediately…” Let us only pray that the Lord will give us grace and resources to meet this challenge and realise our Botswana dream.

During the month of June, Pastor Kapambwe Nsenduluka went on a tour in Zambia and South Africa to share the Botswana dream and the mission was quite successful. Through this tour the Lord provided forums to share and update God’s people with what is happening in Botswana at a Faith Baptist Church Conference in Kitwe on 7th June, Gemistone Baptist Church and Springs Baptist Church on 20th, and Free Grace Baptist Church on 27th. It was a delight to see many of God’s come forward and pledge prayer support and in some instances even material support. We are grateful for some of the gifts already given by our partners to this work. We would however like our prayer partners, and partners in the work of the gospel to join us in praying for the following urgent needs:

  1. Finalisation of the registration process. In our last meeting with the registration authorities we were told that the papers had been sent to the HQ. The granting of the work permit to the missionary pastor is wholly depended on issue of the certificate of incorporation.
  2. The quick processing of the work permit for the missionary once the registration papers are ready so that he can move on site to give the work direction from its foundation stage. At the moment he can only be in the country as a visitor. Let us pray that the work will not suffer major dislocations as a result, especially that the pastor, has only 90 days per year to be there as a visitor and has already used up more than 20 days of this years allocation.
  3. Lastly but not the least, pray for material support. The mission will need an estimated US $ 3,500 per month in expenses on salary, house rentals, meeting place rentals, and operating expenses once the missionary is on the mission field.