Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Long overdue update!

We are planning to post in our blog a little more regularly and share updates as we adjust to life and ministry here in Zambia, Africa. We wrote this update for Hands On Mission and decided to share it here as well.

Christ the Power and Wisdom of God

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Corinthians 1:8-25 (NKJV)

Muli Bwanji? (How are you in Nyanja)

Our family has now been in Zambia, Africa for six months and God has been so gracious to us! It has been a big adjustment to make this our new home and land but the adventure of it has been amazing. God is very clearly seen in our lives here and we have had opportunities to join God in His work here in many ways. We have been privileged to share, preach, and teach in local churches, new church plants, discipleship groups and training classes. We have been able to teach children and we were extremely blessed to see and participate in the giving out of Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! It was an unbelievable gift as we had hoped we would be able to see them delivered while we were here.

As we have moved around our new town and country, we have encountered people inside and outside the church, people of various faiths and beliefs. We see many different and competing ideas of “Who Jesus Is”. Wrong ideas even in the church. Christian perverted ideas range from Jesus as a genie to grant self-edifying wishes if I only do the right things to a legalist taskmaster demanding performance to earn love and acceptance. The other faiths such as Muslims and Jehovah Witness, denying the deity of Jesus and totally missing the point of who He is. We know many in the world doubt if He ever existed. “Who Jesus is?” is the critical question for our world, past, present and future. As we approach Easter and the day we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world rejects Him as their Savior and many think it foolishness. For those that call upon His name, it is our very existence! The world knows Him as a good guy, prophet, angel or myth. This wisdom of the world, these deceptions of Satan lead many to death and onto the broad road that leads to destruction.

In our time here we have been able to share who Jesus is and help many people get to know Him. Helping people understand more about the One that they believe in and we pray that will lead to a deeper more abiding relationship. To the ones that do not believe, that it would be to their salvation. Our aim is to build the body of Christ, to encourage believers, and make new worshipers of Him. At times things seem to move to slowly, other times overwhelming. Thankfully, it is God’s mission, and He is the director of the timing, tasks, and results.

As we reflect on all that God has done and allowed us to do in these first six months, we are amazed! Zambia is becoming our home. Our children are developing friendships and adjusting to time away from family. God has provided and protected us in so many ways. Ministry has started strong and we are enjoying our service here.

Discipleship training in church cell groups up to three times a week has been going on for a few months. Pastor and leadership training began this month as Saturday intensives in two locations. Plans are to conduct week-long trainings at the more remote locations after rainy season. Our desire is that this would spur and excite more to go deeper into the Word.
Last month we took a relief trip to a village near Kaoma, in Western Province, after a fire destroyed many homes in a village. In the Kaoma area we are looking for wisdom and direction on assembling the equipment to show the Jesus film at night, after the day-long training classes for the leaders. If we do get the set up and equipment needed to show films in villages we could extend that to Southern Provence as well. It would be an excellent evangelistic tool and we would love to follow it up with discipleship classes.

We have also started up a program of encouragement to visit more of Bishop Alfred’s Kanjuye’s churches. Last Sunday we spent the whole day in the village of Mpande and had a great service. We give God the glory for the great things that He has and is doing in Zambia.
Thank you for your prayers and please continue praying. Watch for photos and updates on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thecarpentersmission

Our prayer requests:
Language learning, More Interpreters, Guidance/wisdom/finances to set-up Jesus film, Leadership training program, Church(s) encouragement, Children’s ministry, Short term teams, Revival/awaking in Zambia, Our children’s education, Family friendships

Mutsale bwino! (remain well in Nyanja)

In Christ,

Daniel and Jennifer Carpenter