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Good News - Special Edition


As ELI continues to celebrate its tenth anniversary year, Good News has featured stories of "small beginnings" where God has blessed programs and projects with the vision of establishing libraries, literacy programs and educational opportunities. From the start, both here and in Africa, our heart's desire has been to use these initiatives to provide resources and equipping so THE good news of the gospel would be fully understood and taught. Rural pastors in Zambia face many challenges because of a shortage of Bibles and study materials. These pastors hunger for a deeper understanding of the scriptures in order to better minister to their congregations and communities. As they visited Susu Community Library and studied the amazing resources, they prayed fervently for a teaching pastor to come alongside them.


It is with the greatest joy, that ELI shares the newest "small beginning” and introduces you to a few of the very special people committed to bringing the good news of the gospel to rural Zambia.

 

PASTOR SANDAY

Pastor Sanday has been serving the village of Susu for a very long time. His heart aches for the spiritual and physical needs of his small flock and indeed the entire community. In addition to being a pastor, he grows an orange orchard and delights in sharing his farming knowledge to benefit others. He has started many small projects such as beekeeping to help young people learn new skills and find work beyond subsistence farming, but he knew the children needed access to books and education. When Pastor Sanday first learned in 2019, that an ELI team was coming to visit his village to consider building a library, he knew God was answering his prayer. His heart to educate the children was expressed so beautifully in an interview with Lana Lynn (ELI founder and director). "These children are our future doctors, nurses and teachers!”




PASTOR LAWRENCE

Pastor Lawrence lives and ministers in the market town of Kabwe, where the very successful Susu farmers sell Sweet Susu Produce. As the pastoral leader of his denomination, Pastor Lawrence frequently travels to Susu and other very remote and rural areas. He has a heart of compassion for the spiritual and physical needs of these struggling communities. Pastor Lawrence officiated at the dedication of the site of the future library four years ago. As he knelt on the ground and anointed it with oil, he prayed for the Lord's blessing on the land and on the lives that would be changed because of access to books and knowledge.

After the ceremony, Pastor Lawrence and other pastors in attendance met with the ELI team. They requested Bibles for the rural pastors and the few members of their congregations who could read, and could ELI please offer adult literacy classes?


Another question humbly asked was, “If there was a teacher pastor, who could come alongside them?” They were hungry to learn more about the Word of God.




PASTOR CHRISPINE


Pastor Chrispine was one of the pastors attending the dedication ceremony, requesting an adult literacy program in his community. He and his wife were especially concerned about the plight of the village women, who could not read or write. These women were struggling to find any job that could provide a small income, to pay school fees and feed their children.


Pastor Chrispine and his wife offered space in the parsonage for a literacy class to meet. Soon nineteen women and one man were faithfully attending classes several times a week. After graduating from the one year course, several women went on to master sewing skills and start a small income generating business.




Pastors Sandy, Chrispine, Lawrence and Mr. Kenneth (ELI Director) continued to meet and pray about the pastor's request for a teacher pastor and additional theological training. The COVID pandemic prevented travel to Zambia, but everyone's Zoom and Skype skills were being honed.


In God's perfect timing, Pastor Larry Scroggins was willing and excited to offer classes via Skype to these pastors yearning for a deeper understanding of God's Word. Internet is not available in these rural villages, so every Thursday evening after a long day of work, seven pastors and Mr. Kenneth met in a hotel room where WiFi is available. The pastors sacrificially scrape together the money needed to rent a space, and then gather around Mr. Kenneth's laptop to begin their three hour study.




Pastor Larry assisted by Papa Larry (husband of Lana Lynn) finished teaching the first Inductive Bible Study course this spring. As soon as the pastors "graduated" they immediately organized pastoral conferences in Kabwe and the Susu Community Library to share this knowledge with other pastors.



 

PASTORAL CONFERENCES

Kabwe


Two weeks after completing the course, Pastor Lawrence hosted a conference at his church for other pastors interested in learning the material. The new course graduates shared the teaching responsibilities with the 16 pastors who attended. The word went out to the pastoral community, and two weeks later, 36 excited pastors gathered together to study the Word of God using this method. At the upcoming July 8th dedication of the Susu Community Library, 20 pastors will also be acknowledged and awarded a Certificate of Completion for the Inductive Bible Study training.

Susu


Knowing that it was an impossible challenge for the rural pastors and Christian leaders to travel to Kabwe, the course graduates organized a teaching conference at the Susu Library. It was the rainy season and it was very difficult for the participants to walk on the washed out roads, so Mr. Kenneth used the Susu truck to bring people to the library. He didn't have enough time to bring everyone that wanted to participate, but there were 53 students in attendance on that first day, all of them with a hunger for a deeper spiritual knowledge of the Bible. The library was full to capacity and many breakout study groups met under the trees. When the day was over, everyone wanted more meetings and promised to share the news of this miraculous opportunity with other colleagues.

Two weeks later, 73 pastors and Christian leaders either walked, rode their bicycles or traveled in the Susu truck to the much anticipated class. The Susu ladies prepared a delicious meal from the donated food, and a few pastors carried gifts of bottled water for long distances on their bikes.


Many of the attendees had not visited the library, so they were astonished at the pastoral reference material and the Children's Ministry teachers were delighted with the children's Bibles and teaching materials. Even more astonishing was the knowledge that they were welcome to come anytime to the library and use these precious resources.


At the end of the day, each participant received a packet containing all the course outlines with scriptural references.


ELI is humbled with this privilege to bring these educational resources to our friends in Zambia, who are so grateful to learn and understand more fully the Bible. You, our friends, and the Christian community as a whole, understand how important it is to rightly divide the Word of God. We trust you will keep these brothers, along with Pastor Larry and Papa Larry in your prayers as they strive for spiritual excellence. If you would like to donate to the Pastoral fund, for materials and meeting needs, you may designate your gift as Pastoral Funding. We thank you so very much, and God bless you.


Please listen to a personal testimony from one of the Susu pastors.


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