Four of us, including Dr. Kim Milhoan, Connie, our granddaughter Kelsi Johnson, and myself, left for Zambia on Thursday, March 1.
Due to a snow storm in Chicago we missed all of our flights to Zambia, which had to be rebooked while we stayed over night in Chicago. We finally made it a day later than planned and our luggage arrived the following week on Wednesday evening, six days from the time we left San Antonio. We found out that we can do with much less than what we have.
We first spent time touring the facilities that Hearts and Souls has furnished. Drs. Kirk and Kim Milhoan, both pediatric cardiologists, (Kim also an anesthesiologist), have been mightily used of God to care for the orphans and teenage girls who come from very troubled backgrounds. They have also been instrumental in establishing a pregnancy care center. They make regular trips to Zambia and would like to invite other medical-dental professionals to go with them. (Email me for information on them if you would like) Dr. Kirk is presently serving our troops in Iraq and was not able to attend. Another doctor friend of theirs and ours, Audrey McAdams, also joined with us from Okinawa. She is an internal medicine specialist. Her husband, Ryan, also an MD, was not able to travel with her. The doctors, along with 4 other ladies, including our granddaughter, spent most of their time caring for the 38 children in the orphanage. AIDS has taken a heavy toll on these children. The average life expectancy is about 35 for both men and women, because of the high rate of infant mortality.
At the same time that these wonderful women were caring for the children, Connie and I spoke to hundreds of pastors and wives at a three day conference, where we bused the people in and fed them lunch. They had a head count of 1200 for the final lunch on Friday. John and Kathy Harding, long-time friends from Wayside, were used of the Lord and helped facilitate things at the conference, as well as host meals, pray and logistically move things along.
The response of the pastors and wives to the conference where Connie and I spoke and Kelsi helped with special music, was extremely positive and humbling. The needs are so overwhelming. We met the host pastor, Edward Mwanza and his wife Barbara, through the Milhoans. This is how the conference came about. Here is an excerpt from Pastor Edward’s letter (unedited) to us which summarizes the impact of the conference quite well.
Pastor Stephen and Connie,
We are so blessed by your ministry and you came at a right time in Zambia. The church has been revived and strengthened. After the conference we have had pastors and their spouses coming to us to thank you for the great ministry we had in Kitwe.
My wife and I are part for the ministers are blessed. All spoke to have echoed that you come to Zambia and encourage the body of Christ. It has never happened in Kitwe, Zambia when churches leaders come together, share, have fellowship and meals together. It had been a time to remember. The word preached coupled by life experience, was so edifying, I remember you saying without faith we cannot please God and without holiness we cannot see God. We are blessed by your ministry and worthy of scriptures and great exposition.
On Behalf of the church, Kitwe minister fellowship, organizing committee, my family and all the pastors we sincerely thank you. Thank you for meeting the budget of the entire Conference.
We pray and ask for God’s grace upon you and the ministry. My wife and I and the church thank you once again for giving us the privilege to organize your meetings in Zambia. We pray that we shall go into Malawi where they are waiting to receive your ministry after hearing what has happened in Zambia.
Pastor Edward and Barbra Mwansa
Church on the Rock
Another pastor writes:
Dear Pastor Steve,
I hope this letter has found you very well. With me here in Africa-Zambia, the Lord is blessing me well. My full name is Emmanuel Sianga and I live in Zambia in the city of Lusaka (capital city). I came to know you in Kitwe where you and your lovely wife Connie fed us with the rich spiritual food, which completely changed my family life.
Your teaching and preaching was so powerful that I find it hard to explain how it touched my heart and now I and my wife are living happily as husband and wife. Many pastors here in Lusaka are still remembering you because of your wonderful teachings. I certainly know that God is using you to help pastors and leaders around the world with the Word. Pastor, your preaching field is not only America, but the whole world, with the Gospel.
Pastor, may you also consider to come to Lusaka-Zambia just like you did to Kitwe. Please, please, please, please Pastor Steve, consider our request to come to Zambia once more, this time Lusaka. Pastor Steve and Connie, may the Lord Jesus bless you abundantly.
Your brother in Christ,
Pastor Emmanuel Sianga
This conference made history in two ways. First, it was the first time that seven different denominations came together and second, it was the first time that both pastors and wives gathered in the same place.
Thank you for covering us in His grace in so many ways. We are tired but fulfilled.
Pastor Steve and Connie and the SSI Board