Lectionary Selection: Mark 9: 38-50
Prayers for Zambia:
Lord of all,
In your great mercy, forgive us our many failures. Some of us enjoy such bounty - comfort, leisure, wealth, education and more - but we neglect to look, see and assist those ‘little ones’ who struggle in want, perched precariously on the precipice of despair.
Bless your servants in Zambia and in the United Church of Zambia.
Bless our farmers waiting through the dry season for the rains so they can plant crops to feed themselves and hungry children.
Bless our poor who scarcely find enough work to support their families, obtain medical care, or pay school fees.
Bless our churches, clinics, and educational institutions, especially the UCZ University, where hardworking students scrape together their tuition fees so they can learn skills needed for healthcare, education, social work, agriculture, and for ministry in your church.
Bless our teachers, administrators, and staff who make do with meager resources yet produce competent and morally excellent professionals.
Bless Zambia’s leaders in government, education and commerce so that they may be inspired to eradicate corruption and serve people honestly, with humility and enthusiasm.
Have mercy on us who are sometimes blind, even with two eyes, who are lame, even with two feet and who are ineffective, even with two hands.
Thank you for showing us the right way. Lead us ahead, we ask, in Jesus’ blessed name.
Mission Stewardship Moment from Zambia:
It is such a joy to be serving in Zambia and teaching for the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) University. I am daily challenged by some big chronic problems - no reliable wifi for the classrooms, a needy library, one old copier that is not dependable, a decaying water supply system - but we are succeeding. I came last winter to teach church history but have been drafted to teach African church history, research skills, theology and missiology (so far!). It has been a learning experience in every way I can conceive of. My wife came a few months later to support the university library and has found other challenges in the computer lab and in the (somewhat dated) stacks. But, it is a rich experience of growth as the reign of God takes shape here.
My students are mostly hoping to become ministers in the UCZ, Zambia’s largest Protestant church. This is a rare church in Africa, formed by the organic union of three major mainline churches - Presbyterians, Methodists and Congregationalists - at about the time Zambia became independent from Great Britain fifty-odd years ago. My students are all unusual also. Ministry will be the second profession for most. They will eventually go all over the nation to serve diverse congregations. One recent graduate who is serving in the far Northwest, on the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, recently wrote to me of some of the challenges he faces in rural ministry there, and even though I am fairly new here, I suspect there are similar challenges in urban areas as well - limited access to health facilities, poverty, unemployment, and risk of disease, among others. This is what I am trying to help them train for in ministry. God is gracious.
Still, the Christian faith is growing and vital here. I run into many stripes of theology and levels of historical and theological sophistication in the classroom and in the churches, but Christian faith is held intensely and shared openly here. I am trying to bring my students to a fuller, more reflective understanding of the nature and implications of the gospel. Some days I plant some seeds, some days I barely get started on what I intend to lecture on. But, learning is taking place. New realizations are being formed. New understandings of Jesus and God’s mission in the world are being shared and explored. It is all very exciting, and I am deeply grateful to the Global Ministries for sending me to this work assignment.
(Prayer and Mission Moment by Robert Breckenridge)
Mission Partner in Zambia:
- Council of Churches in Zambia
- Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation
- Theological Education by Extension in Zambia
- United Church of Zambia
More information on Zambia: https://www.globalministries.org/zambia
Global Ministries Missionary in Zambia:
Robert Breckenridge serves as a Global Service Co-worker, assigned to the United Church of Zambia. His appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, WOC, OGHS, and your special gifts.