Wow! Each conference is unique for the time and place. Connie and I, accompanied by Stuart and Lee Ann Hendry flew to Lusaka, Zambia where we ministered to 500 plus pastors and wives for four days.
During that time we met the Honorable Minister of Communication and Broadcasting. He serves in parliament. He had an outstanding opening address for the conference which made us long to have men and women of his caliber in our own government. He sat through my following session and then commented that this is the kind of training and equipping that the pastors and wives need in Zambia. He recognized that as goes the pastors so goes the churches and as goes the churches so goes the country and perhaps all of Africa. He invited us to come back as often as we can. They had us over for dinner one night in their big sprawling house next to the U.S. Embassy. We know that we have a friend in high places in Zambia.
Here is a comment from our driver for the week sent to Stuart and Lee Ann: “This is Kennedy your driver here in Zambia, Lusaka at the Pastors and Wives “Going the Distance” conference. I just want to let know that I was so happy being with you people all the days of the conference. Your conference was so fruitful and I feel that my marriage will not be the same again. I learned how to Love my wife, how to carry out the work of God and at the same time taking good care of my family. I was taught how I can meditate on the word of God. Mostly I was so impressed of how Pastor Steve summarized the Bible in less than an hour. From now on I will be able to study the Bible as I was taught and also the testimony of your daughter (Stuart and Lee Ann’s daughter Emily) touched me so much that I will be able to take it all over. It was good to hear of how you became strong in the Lord and teaching the Sunday school. My brother I will be able to meditate on the things that you taught me and my wife. Greetings to all the members of the Shepherd Support and all those you are working with in the Lord. Tell them that we love them more for making it possible to bring the Conference to us. I and my family thank you so much for the gift that you gave us. May the Lord richly bless you.”
Stuart and Lee Ann were first timers to Africa and it is always rewarding for Connie and me to get those first impressions. Here is a summary statement from them: “As we arrived at the church there must have been 500+ pastors and their wives waiting. Wow! The conference began and ended each day in passionate praise and worship. It was humbling to see people with such poverty be so joyous. The conference opened with Steve doing an overview of Christ in all the Bible. The next day Connie spoke on Romans 12:1,2 “Renewing our minds with the Word of God.” We were moved by her ability to make the most out of every opportunity with the women…not just polite conversation-but establishing real friendships. A couple of days into the conference we all four sensed that there was great need for God’s perspective on the marriage relationship. As passionate and worshipful as they are, they are hungry and in need of discipleship. These pastors need to be taught the Bible! They know so little about a Godly marriage. What an instrumental tool Shepherd’s Support was to them! Most cannot afford to go to seminary. Imagine their delight when Steve exhorted them to memorize the New Testament…and how that would equip them to minister to their churches as well or better than formal education.
The crescendo was the last day as Steve encouraged them to “Go the distance: in their ministries, in their marriages, in their personal relationship with the Lord.” They were so grateful to us. All I could think is how grateful we were to them…for showing us what’s really important in life: being committed to the cause of Christ in this world. We’re so blessed in our country. It’s time we got busy blessing others. Thank you Shepherd’s Support for all you do. And PLEASE ask us again to go ANYWHERE with you. We would follow our new friends to the end of the earth…literally.”
It was pure delight to travel with Stuart and Lee Ann. We saw some amazing things with them before, during and following the conference. They had a very effective ministry in addressing some of the pressing marital needs among the pastors and wives. We really look forward to having them with us again. Our thanks to Pastor Greenwell Simutowe and his team for hosting this wonderful conference.
Our next trip is a scheduled return trip to Malawi in July. God is putting the team together for that conference now. There are 252 children in the orphanage along with upwards of 700 to 1,000 pastors and wives for this conference in early July. All of this is made possible by your generous giving and prayers.
I thank you! Zambia thanks you. Africa thanks you.
Steve for the Team