Too often we limit the power of the gospel. We spread the gospel with the primary intention of seeing souls saved, and yet we fail to realize that it has the power to restore backslidden believers and remind others of the full scope of what we have been saved from and to.
Lately, we have come in contact with a young man (who lives two hours away) who arrived at the Chitokoloki Hospital at death’s door. By his own account, he was “near dead” and was on the mend due to the hospital staff. While waiting to be released, he attended the English gospel meetings, and through Isaiah 53:5 realized Christ was crushed for him. A professed alcoholic and drug user, he told us that the smell now offended him. Instead of drinking and drugs, his time was now spent reading the Word of God.
Over the last few years, we have had the opportunity to build relationships with the local area chief as well as the paramount chief of the area. As a result of these relationships, the opportunities to preach the gospel have grown. We were thrilled to be asked to preach at the opening of the Cultural Celebration of the Lunda people. To add to this high honor, the Zambian President was also there and heard the gospel preached from Romans 6:23. We continue to pray that the gospel would reach and save those who heard it preached.
A short time ago, a local brother who has labored beside us for the last four-and-a-half years shared an amazing story. He told us of his unwillingness to attend the gathering where the gospel was being preached in his village in 2010. After a few months of listening to the gospel being preached through the walls of his house, he attended the gathering, and a few months after that was restored to assembly fellowship – all because of the gospel.
Sadly, there has been a rise in satanic activity in our area since the middle of 2015. There is a belief that there is always someone to blame for a death. This is especially true when it comes to individuals who are taken by crocodiles. Sadly, after a death, the relatives and villages will seek out the diviner and pay them to identify the culprit. We have seen people stoned and beaten because the diviner identified them as the guilty party.
Amazingly, we were visiting a 78-year-old man who was saved only a few years ago (and hated all churchgoers before that). A group of people were passing on their way to the diviner. As the man was blind, he asked what the commotion was, and when he learned that they were going to the diviner, he began to yell at them, “You don’t need the diviner, you need Jesus!” Here was a man, well steeped in Zambian traditional beliefs, showing the power of the Spirit of God in his life, even though he was still a babe in Christ.
We are extremely thankful for the three young men who travel with us as we go to villages, outlying assemblies for the breaking of bread, or assemblies for one day meetings. These young men have a hunger to spread the gospel to their own people as well as to learn more of the Scriptures for themselves. They have also come to understand the importance of actvities other than preaching when attending a village assembly. Often we will go to a village assembly to encourage and listen to what is being taught in the gospel and in ministry. Sometimes this leads to an “extra session” of teaching if something has been taught wrongly from the platform. It has been such an encouragement to see these men growing in grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, all because of the gospel.
Pray for these young men, for those recently saved, and for the assemblies struggling with truths we would hold as “basic” due to a lack of clear gospel. We rejoice in the words of Paul, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom 1:16).