Weekly e-newsletter for members and
friends of the
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
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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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
The only difference is that there is little threat of
being trampled by hippos here in
Rev. Bob Tussing