On the Sabbath morning of April 14, the second hall constructed in the Mumbwa province of Zambia was inaugurated, with 96 people in attendance.
In order to negate rumors that the United Church of God is secretive, a number of people from the surrounding area were invited to attend the opening ceremony. Those invited included the local government councillor and his wife, the local headman and various other leading people from the region.
After a dedication prayer, Kambani Banda (our Zambian pastor) and I cut a ribbon at the entrance to the hall. All present were then seated inside the hall, and the first service commenced with Mr. Banda introducing our guests. In his speech Mr. Banda made reference to the fact that we have nothing to hide. Furthermore, he emphasized that our members strive to be upright and responsible citizens of Zambia and that none of us had caused any problems in the area or to the Zambian government.
Then I gave an overview of the Church, what our commission is and explained the meaning of the terms gospel and Kingdom of God. In conclusion I gave a brief explanation of the role we as members play within the Body of Christ.
The service was concluded with complimentary remarks in English from both the councillor and headman about the quality and beauty of the building.
After the meeting guests were seated outside under the shade of trees and served sandwiches and cool drinks. The majority stayed for lunch and asked to attend the afternoon service. For the afternoon we followed the usual Sabbath service format, and it gave them an opportunity to see what occurs during our services.
Apren Moomba, one of our local men, gave the sermonette, and I gave the sermon on the challenge to bring every thought into captivity to Christ. Translators translated from English into the local dialect. The councillor was the first one to mention how much he appreciated the messages!
The Nalubanda and Kasumpa choir performed a number of special music items during both morning and afternoon services. In the afternoon we also had special music from the men's quartet. They sang superbly.
Our members will now commence the construction of the third hall, which will be located about 15 miles away. Costs have been minimized as members contribute their expertise and labor to the building.
Nearby a hall slightly larger than our hall is being built at a school. Even though construction began before we even started our first hall, they still have not completed the building. What's more, the costs are more than double what all three of our halls will cost! It shows what working together in unity can accomplish.
A number of our members asked me to thank those involved in the Good Works Program who provided the funds for the construction of the halls. Previously members met in makeshift enclosures, made from poles and grass. The atmosphere for the few days we were together was one of joy, excitement and jubilation. Three people were baptized during this visit.
On this trip we met with members from a number of churches in Zambia. Because of an influx from our previous fellowship, attendance and the number of congregations have more than doubled. Presently Mr. Banda is the only ordained elder, and as you can imagine, he is extremely busy. However, God is aware of the situation and already some of the longstanding men are coming forward to give assistance and leadership. It is planned that they will benefit from the leadership programs the Church has instituted.
One of the reasons we publish these articles in United News is to make us aware of our members in the more remote countries of the world, and to request your continued prayers for God's guidance and direction. UN