Texas Adventists Bring
Good News to Zambia
Joshua church travels long distance to preach
BY PAT HUMPHREY
, writing from Livingstone, Zambia
Seventh-day Adventist congregation near the “metroplex” of Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, went far afield to share the gospel, an effort that resulted in nearly 600 baptisms, with another 200 people preparing to join the movement.
For the Seventh-day Adventist church in Joshua, Texas, involvement in mission is simply a way of life.
UNDER AFRICAN SKIES: Outdoor baptism in Livingstone, Zambia, concludes a campaign there by Seventh-day Adventists from Texas. [PHOTOS: SWAU]
“Our church doesn’t just think this was a trip for only 30 members. This was their trip, too, even if they didn’t go with us,” says Kerrie Kimbrow, a church member who coordinated travel arrangements. “When we got back from Livingstone, Zambia, about 20 church members met us at the airport with banners welcoming us home. The church was very much involved.”
The idea was born about a year earlier, when Duane McKey, vice president for evangelism for the Southwestern Union Conference, and his wife, Kathy, who coordinates ShareHim meetings, visited the church in Joshua. Ron and Kerrie Kimbrow invited the McKeys to lunch, and, according to Kerrie, “that started the ball rolling.”
The McKeys were already planning a trip to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, for the fall of 2011, where about 50 ShareHim meetings would be conducted. So they decided that a group from the Joshua church would also hold meetings in nearby Livingstone, Zambia.
Soon afterward a mission group was organized, and the entire church, it seems, got involved in the planning and fund-raising. Families did yard work, held bake sales, sold burritos, sent out letters, and made appeals at church to help fund the travel expenses for the group.
SPEAKER FROM TEXAS: Pat Humphrey, Southwestern Union Conference communication director, was one of many speakers during a recent evangelistic outreach in Livingstone, Zambia.
According to church pastor Jeff Coleman, “We spent $70,000 getting our people over there [to Zambia]. Some say it is money not well spent. But when you look at the baptisms, you can calculate that we spent $160 per candidate. When you look at it that way, it’s money well spent.”
The mission team was a diverse one, with its members ranging from ages 8 to 78: “We were blessed to have a lot of young people with us. This was a fantastic opportunity for them to preach,” said Kerrie Kimbrow. “This gives them affirmation for their faith, and the experience helps to form their life’s direction.”
Meetings were held at 17 different sites around the city of Livingstone, and on October 15, the final Sabbath of the series, 588 people were baptized. One of the new converts was 8-year-old Zoey Prater, who traveled with her family as part of the mission team. About 200 other people continue to study and will be baptized in the near future. “We’ll never really know until eternity the far-reaching impact of these meetings,” said Coleman.
Because Bibles are scarce in Zambia and in response to the many requests for them, Charlene West, executive director of evangelism for the Quiet Hour, and leader of the Zambia mission team, came to the rescue. Hearing of the need, West immediately placed a call to the Quiet Hour in the U.S., requesting funds to purchase the much-needed Bibles. Within days, the Quiet Hour had wired the money to purchase 900 Bibles so that each baptismal candidate could be gifted with a Bible of their very own on the day of baptism. Any Bibles left over would be used for ongoing evangelistic outreach.
On receiving a Bible, one new member summed up the feelings of many: “This is the most precious gift I’ve ever received,” she said.