The Multifaceted Experience of Teaching in ZambiaPosted: June 14, 2010
If you come from America and visit a church in Zambia, you’re going to be asked to preach. That’s just how it is. (Apparently this is also true if you’re from Bermuda but the plane that brought you originated in America.) So unsurprisingly, I’ve been asked to preach while I’m here. Fine with me – nothing I enjoy better than sharing God’s word.
I’ve experienced a few different aspects of preaching and teaching here. From preaching for a local church, to teaching in Mapepe Bible College, to going door to door in local villages, there are plenty of avenues to share God’s word.
Probably the most “uncomfortable” preaching experience was last week when I spoke at Mapepe church of Christ. Because the congregation is made up of both students in the school as well as locals, not everyone spoke English. (Most people here speak either Bembe, Tonga, or Nyanja. I speak none of them, and I’m not even sure I’ve spelled them correctly.) So I had to preach with the help of an interpreter, a first-time experience for me. Funny thing: when one of the brothers was trying to explain where I was from he mimed Bermuda shorts, which produced uproarious laughter.
While I’ve been here I’ve been teaching the students in the college the Epistles of John. That’s been an awesome time. My focus has been on getting the students to understand what John is saying for themselves, so they’ve been reading the book every night. Their insight into the Scripture is astounding.
Then there are door to door visits. Now, I’ve knocked on a door or two in the past 10 years, in both very well-to-do and very poor neighborhoods. But nothing had completely prepared me for going door to door in a village in Zambia.
In the first place, it wouldn’t be accurate to call it “door-knocking”; more often we just stood in the general vicinity of the house and said “knock-knock-knock”. I went with two students from the school, and we were generally well received. Actually, most people saw us coming and would stop what they were doing and pull chairs or benches out for us to sit on. Different from most door-knocking I’ve done, where if people see you coming they sometimes pull the shades and turn off the TV.
On our way out of the village, I was talking to the brothers I was with, asking them questions about receptivity to the gospel among Zambians. Their answers led me to believe that receptivity is highest in places where people have the least, such as the villages. In Lusaka, the capital, which is just up the road, the receptivity is apparently significantly lower. That seems to be the same story in most places.
All in all, I am really enjoying the experiences of teaching here. I pray that God continues to use me to glorify Himself, and that the hearers are benefited.