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This month we are thinking about being part of one body

“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ...God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

I Corinthians 12 v 12 & 18 (NIV)

One body

How many times have you read that verse? It’s a great illustration, and one we are very used to hearing. It is one of the core messages we share when we are working in villages across Zambia.

Maybe you are very familiar with the illustration of us being part of a body. Maybe you, like me, quickly jump to the conclusion that each one of us has a different role to play within the church, the body of Christ. You understand that we need to work together or we will not be effective. Sometimes we don’t always find that easy to do, but we can see the importance of standing and working together.

But imagine if you’d never heard this before. Imagine instead that you had grown up in a community where the unspoken code is not to associate with those who go to different churches. In fact, other churches can be seen as a threat. How could you stand or work with them?

Sadly, this is so often the situation we find in many villages we visit.

 

Life! 2012

You may remember that last time we wrote, we asked you to pray about the upcoming Life! 2012 conference. Well, it has now happened!

We are delighted that 25 people gathered from across Zambia, travelling huge distances to join us. For Justin, Morris & Fanny from Siavonga, it was the first time they had left their village and simply making it to Mkushi was a highlight!

During the time we were together, we talked about christians being part of the body of Christ. We explored what that might mean and what it might look like in our day to day lives. If God has arranged every part of the body just as he wants them to be, and if we are all part of the body, then God has placed us exactly where he wants us to be, as he has those around us, and we should all be working as one. This stands in stark contrast to the separation and division between different churches so often found in village life. As we talked about this, many people said it was the first time they had heard teaching like this. Some left with a new understanding of what “church” can be and of God’s purpose for them within their village.

We’d like to say a massive thank you for all your prayers. They were a vital part of our time together. We’d also like to express our thanks to South Church in Mkushi for opening up their doors and hosting Life! 2012.


What’s next?

As Life! 2012 came to close, we asked people to return to their village and gather a group of people to begin to pray for those around them. We asked them to invite people, including those from other churches, and simply to begin a Life! group. It doesn’t have to be huge...5, 10 or maybe even 15 people. It doesn’t have to meet somewhere special...in a school, outside someones house or under a tree. The important thing is that people begin to cross the divides in their community and begin to celebrate and understand the unity that Jesus brings. As we begin and continue to study the Bible together, we believe that God will reveal to us more and more of what it means to be a part of his body.

Please pray for all those who came to Life! 2012 as they seek to begin something new in their village. People came from Siavonga, Mumbwa, Lusaka, Serenje, Chipili, Lubwe, Chibombo, Luangwa, Katete and Chipata. Many went home keen to begin and, although you may not know these places, your prayers will play an active role in encouraging and supporting those working there.

Please pray for the Impact Teams working hard to support those beginning Life! groups in their areas. They also continue to support those who have been running groups for a while. The Impact Teams are playing their part in the body, but they in turn need the support of all the other parts. Again, your prayers are a part of this. Pray for energy, for wisdom and for protection.

To help support the Impact Teams, 10 volunteers from the UK and USA are going to Zambia in October. They will help facilitate follow up training sessions in the villages of those who came to Life! 2012 and have since begun something in their village. Please pray for safety, for great cross-cultural understanding and for a really strong sense of being a part of one body.

The source of it all

Life! 2012 was a huge milestone in our "We are five" campaign under which we are seeking to establish our work in five new areas across rural Zambia. In many ways, just making it this far feels amazing. We are very aware that we could not do this without God. His goodness and faithfulness are the backbone of all we do. We are really excited about what comes next but know that we must continue to seek God first and not let our eyes slip from him. Please do join us in giving him the praise and glory for all that is going on across rural Zambia.


 



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