Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

6/3/08: Pastor Christian - A Story

Today is the kind of day that I'm thankful to do what I do. I'm thankful to God for the generous ways he has provided us with the opportunity to serve Forgotten Voices by coming to Zambia.

When I spend time in Africa, I truly believe I have the coolest job in the world.

This morning, we met with Pastor Christian (great name for a Christian pastor). :) Katie wrote of his church yesterday, New Life Christian Church Center. He told us his story of God's faithfulness and how he came to study at TCCA.

When Christian was 16 years old, he became a Christian, in part through an organization called Scripture Union in Ndola, Zambia. Then, for Grades 11-12, he went to Hill Crest Technical School in the Southern Province, where he led his school's Scripture Union Club.

Upon completing his studies in Grade 12, he returned to Ndola and his home church. There, the Pastor called Christian into the Pastorate, sensing that the Holy Spirit wanted Christian to become a pastor and help lead the church. While some in the church felt he was too young, the senior pastor insisted that Christian serve and use his gift of pastoring.

From the beginning of this experience, Christian felt a call to minister to widows & orphans. With everything going on, he decided to just pray and seek God's guidance...awaiting silently while he served the church in lots of different ways.

Shortly after, the Pastor was making some general announcements on a Sunday morning and without Christian's knowledge or warning, announced that Christian would begin a movement that would be called Mercy Ministries...looking after widows, orphans, and doing hospital & home visits to the sick in the church & community.

Throughout this time as serving as Junior Pastor, Christian needed an income to support himself. Since the church couldn't afford to pay him, he took a job at an accounting firm in Ndola during the day and pastored in the night & on weekends. Every day, before work began at 7:30am and during every lunch, his co-workers would tease "the Pastor", who was always reading his Bible.

In 2001, the senior Pastor at the church retired and Christian was named the new Head Pastor. Still, the church was unable to pay Christian with these new responsibilities, as all the funds were going toward the construction of a church building and Christian was able to continue working for the accounting firm. They were flexible with Christian, but his heart longed to be full-time in ministry.

In 2003, he married his wonderful wife, Pamela, who would take over the leadership of Mercy Ministries, which helped Christian gain a better work/family balance.

Then - a miracle. In late 2005, Christian's boss at the accounting firm approached him and told him that "it is clear the Lord you serve has called you to be a preacher and serve our community as a pastor. Our firm would like to pay for you to receive a formal education in ministry and support your family."

You can imagine the great joy for Christian & Pamela. This would be tremendously helpful, especially with the new birth of their first son, Emmanuel. We join Christian & Pamela as they priase God for this generousity!

Today - Christian is a 3rd year student, completing his formal training at the Theological College of Central Africa in Ndola, Zambia. He and his wife live on TCCA's campus, along with other students & their families. Through the support of the accounting firm and some donors to TCCA, Christian is able to be a full-time student and also work full-time as the Head Pastor. They now have 2 sons, one that is 4 years old and 6 months.

As Katie wrote yesterday, the church Christian leads is working hard to do what Jesus has called us to do... to love orphans, widows, and those that care for them...and to lean not on our own understanding, but in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He will make our paths straight.

Through our conversations with Christian's church leadership and future work with Remmy Hamapande (Forgotten Voices' new Program Director for Zambia), Forgotten Voices will partner with Christian's church to support & enhance their Mercy Ministries program. Together, we'll walk by faith and look for ways to help widows, orphans, and those that care for them.

By sending orphans back to school and developing a microfinance program using tailoring and carpentry so Christian's church can eventually send the kids to school themselves, Forgotten Voices is empowering orphans with a local church in Africa.

To donate to Forgotten Voices to support our work and the work of Pastors like Christian, visit us online at http://www.ForgottenVoices.org.

Thanks for using your voice to help the dreams of Pastors like Christian come true! Together, we can join Christian & Pamela as they serve our God in caring for orphans and widows in their communities.

What an amazing thing it is that WE can be part of redeeming this world, as Christ called us to join those that meet these needs in some of the most forgotten places on earth. Thanks for praying, supporting, and dreaming with Christian, Pamela, Remmy & the entire Forgotten Voices team.

Blessings,
Ryan & Katie
From Ndola, Zambia

1 comment:

mani said...

i thought i would never come across such an article,it is just great.people like me are inspired after reading good stuff like these.
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carol smith
http://www.christian-drug-rehab.org