Bursting with life

Karin Fendick | Zambia

God’s place

From the gardens, the buildings and the melodic laughter of children, Mkushi Mission of OM Zambia is bursting with life and activity.

Tobias and Maryna Vente, leaders of the work, named the site Inchende Yakwa Lesa (God’s Place).

“God’s vision is unfolding here,” says Tobias. “We are excited to join in His work; uplifting the community through commercial farming, discipleship and church planting. We can’t rush anything. All things must be in God’s timing.”

Mary finds her calling

Joseph Mutale and his wife Mary, a Zambian missionary couple, are the other half of the Mkushi team. Joseph moved to Mkushi with the Ventes, taking some time to set things in place before Mary joined them. It was a challenging time of settling in for Mary.

“I was finding it hard to live alone without my wife and was so happy when she joined me, but Mary was very unhappy. She felt she had nothing to do and nothing to offer. Mary would wake up early, make my breakfast then go back to sleep, even until 7:00 hours,” Joseph explains, sharing his concerns.

One night, after the evening meal, the team gathered to pray.  They specifically asked the Lord to show Mary what His purpose and plan was for her time in Mkushi.

Early the next morning, Mary came out of the house smartly dressed and boldly proclaimed, “I am a teacher.” She immediately began teaching lessons to her own child and two other children from a village across the Mkushi River. With no supplies, Mary broke up a pencil into pieces to share between the children. In a few days, six children from the same village joined them so that by the end of that week Mary had nine students.

“By the end of week two there was a multitude of children,” says Joseph, “at least fifty gathered. We selected those who were from the ages of five to seven because it was too far for those little ones to walk the almost eight kilometres to the nearest school.”

They asked parents to sign agreements giving them authorisation to begin teaching God’s Word and other lessons. When Mary started, there was no seating or teaching material but they have since been blessed with chairs, tables and teaching tools donated by friends at Living Word Church in South Africa. While once they met beneath an insaka (a thatch covered open area) the school now meets inside a small building, with walls covered in bright charts and pictures.

“Mary is happy now,” smiles Joseph, “but knows she is not at the correct academic level. She wants to go back to school as soon as there is a teacher who can temporarily take her place.” 

Mary is also part of an active women’s ministry, working hand in hand with Maryna to bring hope and encouragement to broken-hearted women who are struggling with unfaithful husbands and troubled marriages.

When Joseph looks back to that night around the fire, seeking direction for Mary’s future, he is overjoyed at how quickly and certainly God answered both their specific prayers and general prayers for the farm.

Time of growth

Six hectares have already been cleared in preparation for this year’s planting of maize and soya. Vegetables are thriving; bananas, strawberries and other fruit trees have been planted. Chickens and goats are growing happily and may soon be joined by other livestock.

The base has been expanded with an equipment shed, showers and eating areas for visiting outreach teams.

Before workers get busy with their daily tasks of building, setting up irrigation systems or tending to the fields, they meet for morning devotions. Every Friday afternoon is a Bible study and on Sunday mornings, Joseph and Mary have a fellowship gathering. The Ventes join every second week to participate and monitor progress.

"God is the reason for all the work here and remains the centre of all things as lives are impacted, villages transformed and His Kingdom expanded," says Tobias.

The name Inchede Yakwa Lesa is truly fitting. To Him be all the glory.

Published: Thursday, 25 May 2017
Credit: Karin Fendick
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