A Weekend in the Bush {Part 1}

My family spent this past weekend, Thursday through Saturday, at a conference in a place called Kapiri. This was our second year to attend this conference. Pastor Aaron, one of Wiphan’s pastors, is a part of the church congregation hosting the conference which is how we became associated. My parents were asked to speak for 2 days last year and they were asked to do this same this year as well.

Last year was incredibly exciting and fun, but personally I found this year to be far more memorable. I intently tried to focus on the Lord, His leading in my life, and how He was working rather than simply the social aspect of being there. However, I was looking forward to reuniting with some very dear friends.

Besides crashing in bed at a lodge each evening, we spent our entire time out in the bush.

What exactly do I mean by “bush”? Let me put it this way: no running water (wells were located about 500 yards away), no electricity (apart from a mini generator which powered a keyboard and microphone), no plumbing, no roofed structure except for a partially tarp-covered conference area.  Most living areas were enclosed with rough 6-foot tall thatch “walls” to separate rooms.

We’re also in the middle of the dry season meaning there is an immense amount of dust everywhere. August is also considered the windiest month so you can imagine the severe amount of dust in the air.

Maybe these pictures will help give a bit of a visual (put your cursor over the photos for the captions)

Now, here is Day 1 of three about how our unfathomable God worked in beautiful ways at the bush conference in Kapiri…

Day 1

We arrived at the conference mid-morning on Thursday and spent the first hour or so greeting everyone.

Greetings are a very important part of the culture here. There is a lot of hand shaking, hugging, and multiple thoughtful questions involved in a greeting. It’s such a beautiful thing!

As I said above, I was greatly excited to be reunited with old friends; specifically my dear friend Victoria and also the entire Mwamba family. Sadly, my friend Joy Mwamba wasn’t at the conference this year.

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Sunday School

After we finished greeting everyone, my brothers and I went off with the “Sunday school” children (ages 14 and below) to teach them. There were three adults (one being Pastor Aaron) helping to handle about 70 children.

The boys and I began by acting out the story of The Good Samaritan and discussing how everyone is our neighbor.

 

Then we taught the kids the song “I May Never March in the Infantry”. If you don’t know the song, it contains many hand motions and actions making it fun to teach children.

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Jackson praying over the Sunday School (Photo creds: Alex)

Pastor Aaron kindly acted as our interpreter and guitar player.

After we finished Sunday school, we returned to the main area where we ate a very cultural lunch.  We ate with the head of their church organization (they call him the “bishop”) and his lovely wife who have become dear friends of ours. They are so kind to answer all our questions about culture and are extremely understanding of our many naïve mistakes. They are an extremely hospitable couple!

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Fetching water at the well.

After lunch, I went to fetch water from the well with my friend Lista. The journey to the well is downhill, but the journey back from the well is all uphill. Haha! But together it wasn’t hard to carry the large bucket. I imagine if I hadn’t been there she would’ve just carried it on her head.

My friend Rejoice (Mwamba) had asked me if I’d be willing to teach him guitar, so I spent some time teaching him four basic chords (G, Em, D, and C). It didn’t take him but a few minutes to have them all memorized and transition between them surprisingly fast for a beginner!

 

Sessions started up again mid-afternoon and I was able to listen to my mom’s engaging talk with the ladies on forgiveness. I held sweet Grace Mwamba in my lap with little Gloria on my left the entire time. I daresay there was not ever more than 30 minutes that passed the entire weekend where Gloria and Grace were not by my side. ❤

As it became dark, we again sat down to a lovely Zambian meal. Following the meal, I found my friend Blessing (Mwamba) at the keyboard. Another young man, whose name I never caught, was playing the bass guitar…and quite well considering the guitar was missing a string!

My favorite memories with Blessing always involve us and our mutual friend Victoria singing together. This particular evening, my friends Sibongile (also Mwamba) and Deborah joined us to sing. All three of them, Blessing, Sibo, and Deborah, have astoundingly flawless voices. Deborah is a smooth and strong alto, Blessing a powerful bass, and Sibo a passionate tenor. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enjoy their company long as our family soon left for the lodge, but I’d ultimately spend a great deal of time with these three friends (and others) over next two days…


After the busy day we’d had, it didn’t take any time or effort for us all to fall fast soundly asleep. My mind was rolling with exciting thoughts about the days ahead, but my thoughts didn’t come close to the beautiful reality of what the next days would hold…
{to be continued tomorrow, September 2nd}