Zambia Copperbelt Churches
In our Pentecost countdown this week, we feature the four Copperbelt churches strung out along northwest Zambia, some bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pastor Derrick Pringle and his wife, Cherry, along with deacon Rodrick Epomba provide these reports.
God is calling people to salvation who live in some of the harshest and most remote places on the earth. Yet these brethren are a shining example of Christian faith who have shown a determination to preach the gospel to the world. Some of them have waited many years to be baptized by a minister of God.
The United Church of God office for Zambia is located on the property of the Pringles who for years have fulfilled requests for the Beyond Today magazine, UCG literature, and have responded to reader inquiries. Beverly and I have visited them many times, and have become fond of them, admiring them for all they do.
Pastor Derrick Pringle and deacon Rodrick Epomba provide reports this week about church developments in their area. For more photos and a more complete report, please go to https://kubik.org/zambia-copperbelt-churches/.
From Derrick Pringle:
In 2011, a subversive element in the United Church of God disturbed us here in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. One of their leaders boldly proclaimed that UCG would collapse within two years. Did this happen? No! Instead, the Church of God has grown from a handful of scattered people to four congregations.
In 2011, only a handful of members were meeting for Sabbath services in a dingy classroom in the town of Mufulira in the Copperbelt region. Now, project to 2021 and see the results of God building His house.
We purchased two adjoining plots of scrubland. The property was enclosed with a block wall 1.8 meters high topped with an electric security fence and solar panel complete with a 6-meter sliding gate.
A meeting hall was constructed (20 by 9 meters, or about 65 by 29 feet) complete with lights, ceiling fans and a tiled floor. Seating is on comfortable wooden benches. Various fruit trees were planted—banana, avocado pear, paw-paw, Indian guava, grafted mango, lemon and navel orange. Palm trees and a lawn enhance the beauty of the grounds.
Mufulira is now the site for the Feast of Tabernacles for 150-200 people, youth camp, a ladies retreat and various other functions.
Once a week we host a Beyond Today radio broadcast to the community.
Solwezi is a mining town roughly 270 kilometers (167 miles) northwest of Mufulira. A small church group was established using a little hall which was patched and renovated for services. In time this hall became too small, but with our very capable deacon, Rodrick Epomba, a large well-built hall was erected.
The property is protected with 1.8 meter (6 foot) diamond mesh fence topped with barb wire. A well is located on the property. Once a week we produce a radio broadcast. On the First Day of Unleavened Bread, 71 people were in attendance.
Mufumbwe is a small town 200 kilometers (124 miles) northwest of Solwezi.
The church hall was constructed along with an adjoining room for us to stay in when we visit that area. In addition, a two-room storeroom was built as well as a four-room cottage for the deacon and his wife. Avocado and grafted mango trees were planted.
A drip line irrigation system was installed for market gardening to supply vegetables to the town. The Mufumbwe people are good farmers and this is a successful venture paying for most of the church’s running costs as well as cash to uplift the members’ living conditions. The complete area is enclosed with a 1.8 meter diamond mesh fence topped with barbed wire.
A weekly radio broadcast is also done by deacon Christopher Ndunguyongo.
An orphanage subsidized by LifeNets is ably managed by member Joseph Kaputula. The weekly Sabbath attendance tops 40 people.
Manyinga is another small town 100 kilometers (62 miles) from Mufumbwe. A church hall was constructed and dedicated in the spring of 2019 by Victor Kubik. At present, a four room cottage is going up for a caretaker, as well as a borehole with an Indian hand pump. The average Sabbath attendance is about 35 people.
Farther to the northwest about 100 kilometers, we are working with interested groups of people in the Kabompa area and Zambezi town, which is by the Zambezi River near the Angola border.
From the beginning of “small things” (Zechariah 4:10 Zechariah 4:10For who has despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
American King James Version×) and over a 10-year period, God has grown the United Church of God over a distance of 700 kilometers (430 miles) with churches, members and community improvements.
All this has been accomplished through the generous assistance of LifeNets USA, LifeNets Australia, the Good Works program and others to whom we are extremely thankful.
The following report is by deacon Rodrick Epomba of the Solwezi congregation:
In the past months, the Solwezi church has seen massive developmental projects that have changed the face of our congregation. We’ve seen the construction of a church/community hall which is about 12 by 17 meters (39 by 56 feet). This includes a veranda, kitchen and office. The hall, which is well furnished, sits on a 40-by-45 meter (131-by-147 foot) parcel of land.
The only thing lacking is running water, but this will be a thing of the past should a 5,000 liter tank and a pump be provided. The members have dug the well, which is about 14 meters (45 feet) deep and provides plenty of water to be pumped into the tank.
This year we celebrate our one-year plus radio show in Solwezi bringing Beyond Today to our local area (Kaonde, Lunda, Luvale and Bemba language). This program has been so helpful in spreading the word of God. The radio station, which reaches out for 120 kilometers (75 miles) and caters to all age groups, is known as a Christian radio station and soul radio. It is streamed at http://stream-africa.com/SolweziFCCRadio.
From the time we started our radio program, we’ve been receiving great support from our listeners; we have had five members come into the Church in the past year. People have called and asked for the truth they hear on the radio. More keep asking, despite their distance from the church. This is one of the great challenges for those who are very far from Solwezi. They want to meet with us and we hope to visit them.
I want to thank pastor Filius Jere of Chipata for the mentorship that he gave for our radio show, which is yielding fruit that we can see. We pray for God’s direction as we press forward in these hard times.
It was a great joy to see six people join the Body of Christ. This is something that I personally prayed for on several occasions. We are really grateful to God Almighty for His power and the mercy He has continued to show to His people by opening their spiritual eyes and ears so that they can hear and understand His truth—not only that, but also to abide in it.
We are grateful for the support we receive as a local church physically and spiritually. This gives us hope and reminds us that indeed we are one in Christ. It is our prayer that you keep praying for us so that His truth be known in all parts of the world.
As we draw nearer to the day of Pentecost, we rejoice in what the Spirit of God is doing in the lives of people.