We have been working on a building for our church since May of 04. Our arrival in Mazabuka 5 years ago last November started with showing a film in the marketplace and a compound outside of town. We did that on a Friday and a Saturday and started holding services in a schoolroom that Sunday. Our first service had about 10 people besides my family. Within 3 months we were crowding over a hundred people in that small schoolroom. I had about 4 square feet to move around in. We then moved or shifted (Zambian term) to the “Boys Prison” a low security place for orphans where we rented their auditorium. We used that location for 6 months before bringing a tent up from South Africa to set up on a plot of land the government gave to us with a 99 year lease (never have found out what happens after 99 years). We have been meeting in that tent until taking it down this last October.
We started the building process using our church offerings. It would take about two years, but it would get done. We started with old railway rails used as posts around the existing tent. At this time our fellowship got involved and gave us some money to work with. We continued building using old steel from a torn down building up in Ndola (a depressed manufacturing city in the Copperbelt). We got a steel frame up using a winch made by our Pastor Robinson in Kitwe. It was a lot more work than I had imagined. The project is being run by Alfred Kagolo a man in our church. He has done a great job. At this point we are finishing the walls and putting the window and door frames in. We will put a cement finish on the walls and then paint. The final touch will be a finished floor. It should be finished by March.
The highlights of this project have been seeing the men in the church get the job done. Lifting the steel girders was a wonderful moment for all present. My personal highlight was the rush to get a roof and floor in by December 4th. We had a wedding scheduled which is a big deal here in Zambia. (Weddings and courtship another time). This was a great couple who had dated properly and it was going to be a blessing to marry them for our entire church. We also had a concert scheduled with “Fortune” a brother from the Kabwe church who is Zambia’s best known musician. The roof would be easy but we were on a slope that dropped 1.5 meters over the 30 meter length. I started to hire a truck, that I thought we could afford, but the reason I could afford it was because the lift did not work properly therefore it couldn’t move a whole load. So we started digging on the plot and wheel barrowing the dirt in. We poured cement as we brought the dirt in. The time crunch was looking tough. I gave the couple the option of shifting the location of their wedding. They kept me at my earlier word when I said that they would get married in our church no matter what state it was in.
I started to panic, just a little. To the rescue came a very unlikely group of angels. I only found out about it a couple days into the project, but each night around 8:00 all of the young men in the church were gathering to move dirt. They positioned lights and music (can’t work without music) and worked until 2 in the morning. They did this for about 10 days before the wedding. I joined them one night, but went home around 11. They were the hero’s of the project. The cement was laid and we had a great wedding with everyone especially proud of the young men working at night.
The bible says that when “he who finds a wife finds a good thing…”. Preaching about the aggressiveness needed to finish the job and find a wife was the theme of the wedding sermon.