Dignity is something we give to others. We give this dignity based on their actions. So it was with great pleasure that we attended the Sunday services in Shimungalu where Pastor Gift Chishinda took over for Pastor Charles Tembo. The Shimungalu church has come along way. I discovered Shimungalu in my early searches for a lake that showed up on Zambian maps, but in reality was just some lowlands that in the days before the dams were built filled with water during the rainy season. I remember my excitement when I found someone who knew where the harbor was. My eldest daughter and I went down an abused road through a long stretch of village finally reaching the end of the road at the river Kafue. The harbor, dug out canoes and drunk fishermen. This was too much for my daughter. This was within the first month we were in Mazabuka and she said she just wanted to go home. Yes, the Shimungalu harbor was quite different from the Seattle Marina.
We got over that experience and found people in church who had a burden for Shimungalu. It had one of the worst reputations of any village around. All of my daughters made judgments about the different villages by the behavior of the children and the passes made at them by the drunks. Shimungalu children won over all of my daughter’s hearts. Even on this special Sunday the children were well behaved waiting for all of the adults to be served juice and scones before they obediently lined up for their turn.
The service was great. The Shimungalu church has an identity of its own. Pastor Tembo did a great job working with the people God gave him. My family, the Okello’s and the Sikombwa’s attended the service representing Mazabuka. Two excellent sermons were given by our two pastors and afterwards the elders of the church prayed for the new pastor. Two of these men repeated this phrase. “Our church has some good and some not so good, but please consider us all your children”. Good advise for a new pastor.