Dan (Daniel Barnard) and I had the honour of joining our Four12 Partners Signs and Wonders Ministries International at their annual conference in Livingstone, Zambia during the final week of August 2018. Signs and Wonders is a multi-site church with congregations over various areas of Zambia, some in Livingstone, others in the western areas such as Sichili and others as far east Chipata, on the border of Malawi 8ookm away. Once a year saints from these various congregations travel ridiculous distances to meet together to be envisioned and encouraged with the love of Jesus and to receive apostolic input. This year over 200 members were able to join together – it was inspiring to see how deep their devotion towards Jesus is and just how zealous they are as a church to see their local church be all that she is called to be in their local field.
I was both excited and anxious in my preparation for the trip as I had only 5 days leave to catch my breath after a hectic season at work as an intern doctor. Physically I was longing for rest, but as we began to drive across northern South Africa and Botswana I began to realize that the Lord wanted to do a deep work in me that went far beyond ‘time out’. As I stepped out I discovered that true rest comes in abiding in the Father and obedience to his will and there is a great encouragement in seeing His Kingdom advance across the world.
I was amazed by some of the stories of people who made the journey to Livingstone. One person had to catch an 8-hour bus ride to get to Livingstone and on returning home had to choose between an 8-hour train ride ending with a 35km walk home or the bus again. Despite this, there he was, excited that he was able to join with the church, ready to be equipped and encouraged.
The heart of the conference was to see the Lord restore to the church what the enemy had stolen. As a church, they have faced some intense persecution of late and it was so incredible to see their responsiveness to what the Lord was doing and their genuine faith in proclaiming that Jesus is Lord and his church is His vehicle. Each day the saints ate, fellowshipped and worshipped (with an exuberance that I’m sure made our Father smile) together. Their hearts were so open towards us – not as guests or guest preachers but as fellow believers with the same mind of Christ. It was so beautiful to see how every saint took ownership of their role in the church worshipping with zeal and fervour, every believer doing the work of the ministry they were called to in devotion to Jesus.
The final day ended with Dan ordaining more than 15 new elders into office. In spending time with them I could see that, as elders, their hearts were that of reverence towards God and humility towards each other. This is something so refreshing to see – as many churches in Zambia are rooted in a few “Anointed Men of God” who receive glory instead of humble servants whose hearts are to equip the believers. Peter and Charity Chanda (who planted the church 30 years ago and still lead it) were so welcoming and open-hearted. They lead with humility and sincere love for people. Even though Dan and myself are young enough to be their kids, they received us with honour and grace. What an example of servant leadership and how exciting is it to see these type of leaders in our home, Africa.
What an honour to have been able to witness the Lord lavish his love on his church – even for only a week!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris is married to Tanita, and together they love taking on big adventures in God’s Kingdom. He is currently working as a doctor in the East Rand (Gauteng, RSA), and is part of Covenant Life Church in Benoni. Together with Tanita, he serves in the areas of youth, home groups and worship.
Share this Post