DCC News

 

Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church

 

October 5, 2006

From our Minister….         

 

Everything That Goes Around…

 

His name was Elijah Mukwamba and he stopped at our house on that Sunday afternoon.

 

Back in the mid 1970’s, my wife Marty and I taught at Kafue Secondary School in Zambia. We were teaching missionaries at the old British Methodist mission school there in Africa. Kafue Secondary had about 600 boys at the boarding school there near the Kafue River in south central Zambia. We had been sent there through the United Church of Christ to teach for three years…and teach we did, along with dorm supervision, clubs, sports and whatever else there was for staff to do in a 24/7 job. Chapel was every morning in the red brick, tin roofed chapel. Headmaster Lawrence Chibutu would make announcements after worship.

 

Mr. Mukwamba, an Elder in the local United Church of Zambia, was probably 70 years old back then (in 1975) and he remembered a time before the mission school was even built. The school was started by the British Methodists back in the 1920’s or so and the missionaries came to the area on ox-cart and on foot. Why they journeyed so far, to such an isolated area is anyone’s guess, but it seems those early Methodists took the call to “go into all the world” very seriously. So, they trekked into the African interior to what was then an unnamed region north of Rhodesia. It later was named Northern Rhodesia and with Independence from the British Empire it took the name Zambia (after the name of the great Zambezi River.)

 

Mr. Mukwamba had been educated, employed and Christianized by those Methodist missionaries and he was, by the time we knew him, semi-retired from work. He lived on a pension and was active in the local Christian Church that met on Sunday mornings in the school chapel. This particular church body was separate from the school but many students and staff attended as did many of the local Zambians.

 

We had been teachers at the school for only a couple months when Mr. Mukwamba came calling. We offered him lemonade and we sat in the coolness of our screened in front porch. He enquired about our health and our families back in the United States. We asked him questions about his family there at the mission school and what he remembered about the region from his earlier years.

 

We joked about not being able to sleep for the first few nights at the school because of the noise of the hippos in the nearby Kafue River.

 

“Oh, yes,” he replied rather solemnly, “they can make a lot of noise and be very dangerous too.”

 

“What sort of danger?” we asked. (Though the thought of being trampled by a hippo was never to far from our minds, and we had made a mental note to not swim in the river.)

 

“Don’t ever get between a mother Hippo and her baby.” Replied Mr. Mukwamba. “It can be very bad for you.”

 

Zambians did have a knack for understatement. And even a city boy from Ohio like me, could see the wisdom in not walking between hippo mothers and babies.

 

“Are there other animals here in the Kafue Gorge area?” we asked.

 

“Oh, there are monkeys and lots of snakes.” He volunteered. “There used to be lions and elephants and you could hear their roar when it echoed in the Gorge.”

 



                                            

                                    

While I briefly lamented the absence of lions, I also felt a bit safer since I had to walk around the area day and night for my school duties. It seems the lions and elephants were in the area as late as the 1930’s. The human population increased; the big hydro-electric dam was built 10 miles down river and the wilder of the wild life disappeared.

 

Mr. Mukwamba was a time capsule. After more lemonade and a brief discussion about the local church and the fact that Marty and I were teachers and had a steady income…Mr. Mukwamba pulled out his notebook and pencil and asked us about a financial pledge to the local church where he was an Elder.

 

I think of Mr. Mukwamba every Autumn especially when the churches that I serve begin their Stewardship Campaign. The Christian Church has a history of planning, putting together numbers and then asking members to pledge. Frankly it is the same in Dublin, Ohio as it is in Kafue, Zambia. Leaders in the church plan their ministries and then crunch numbers and finally, prayerfully ask the church members to give money to support those ministries.

 

It was a privilege to know Mr. Mukwamba and to be in his presence as he gave his testimony of Christian witness. That church in Kafue had plans for their church and it required money. In the same way Dublin Community Church has great plans for the coming year. Our ministries are planned; you will be asked to help finance them. It is a tried and true way.

 

In the past weeks, you have heard of our ministries and our need for all of us to finance the coming year. You have received announcements in worship and in Committee meetings and most especially, you will soon receive a mailing. If you want anyone on the Stewardship Committee, including myself, to give further explanation, just ask. It’s really just like was done 30 years ago by the church elders at the mission school in the middle of Zambia.

 

The only difference is that there is little threat of being trampled by hippos here in Dublin.

 

Peace,                    

Rev. Bob Tussing