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Sunday, June 21, 2009

From the bush to the base

We got back from our 5 days in the bush today and I was grateful to have a shower. On Wednesday, we got on the truck and traveled for 6 hours out towards the chief's palace in Nyawa. We cleared a campsite and got everything set up that night and we went out to the palace on Thursday morning. Whatever you think of when you hear the word "palace" forget it when you think about this one. The chief's palace is more of another village community where the chief's house is and where he meets with visitors. There isn't any fancy huge building or anything like that.

Overland staff had sent out invitations to 55 head men of villages in the area that the chief had recommended come to a leadership conference that Overland would run. Our purpose of being at the palace this week was to assist with the conference as well as serve and minister to the villages within walking distance from the palace. We arrived at the palace around noon on Thursday and Jake (the sector manager) kicked off the conference. The conference was designed to equip these village leaders with Bible based leadership techniques and there was also a great deal of evangelism and Christian teaching built into it in order to develop these men into men of God who can effectively lead their villages. Even though only 55 invitations were sent out, we had 105 head men from as far as 40 km away show up. This is completely unprecedented since the head men rarely gather all in one place and never for a conference such as this. Three Overland staff men spoke throughout the weekend and my team was able to do some evangelism as well and I hear it went really well. At the end of the conference, 70 of the head men stood up and publicly confessed their sins, renounced any connection to Satan, and committed their lives to following Christ. This could be a really significant event in the history of this country since these men represent a significant portion of the leadership of this portion of Zambia. The chief is also a Christian and has access to the President of Zambia and interacts with other chiefs so God could use this as an open door to spread word of the Gospel to other parts of the country.

In addition to going to the conference, we were able to go out to some villages in the area and help harvest maize, preach to the villages, and pray for the sick. There was also a demon-possessed man at the palace that some of the Overland staff prayed for. If you want more information about that encounter I'd be happy to give it to you individually. The village that Nathan, Kelly, JJ, Wezi, and I went to had a Seventh Day Adventist church service in progress so we joined in for a while and had lunch with the church elders. We introduced what Overland is and what we were there for and we asked questions about the village, the church, and what the area was like. We found out that we were the first white people to ever visit this village and they almost never have visitors from other villages. We were able to teach a little during the church service during the afternoon and then we had to be on our way.

I've got just over a week left here on the base and it's probably going to be full. Ciaran and I are replacing some shocks on a Land Rover tomorrow and there are various welding and fabrication projects I'll be working on all week. The 4x4 driving practical test for the AMT students will be on Tuesday.

Until next time,


Terry said...

glad for you sharing the stories with us. More details in person please when you get home. S'mores around the campfire to help bring back the memories. My palace is open for a visit with good news from a forgien land

Tim in Uganda said...

Seriously, Pete. This is crazy and awesome. I love reading this. I can't wait to see you again back in Madison soon and hear more stories.

Tim C

dzurbo said...

Zurbo says Cool!

Lee said...

Pete, thanks for the cool reports. Love hearing about your time in Zambia. Now don't forget when you get back, the Heywards need a visit to hear more. Grace to you.

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