Monday, 21 November 2011

Because we’re eternal...

We said goodbye to 2 friends of ours today. Martin and Amanda Rider have been part of the Lusaka Church plant group for 6 months. Their story has been one of battling to get a permit to stay in the country. They had to spend 7 weeks in Johannesburg in the middle of the South African winter (which is cold!) waiting for permit problems to be sorted, they were then allowed back into Zambia, but ultimately permission was withdrawn and they are on their way back to the UK as I write. Why?

Marts and Amanda have become very precious to us. It helps that they are very nice people, but it’s more than that, we feel that God has joined our hearts to them, we share the same mission, we love the same God and now we feel their absence keenly. Why we do we make ourselves vulnerable to relationships which can get broken?

The answer to these questions is a simple one, we are eternal people. Eternity is not something that happens to Christians when they die; eternity broke into our lives explosively at conversion. Being eternal means we see the tree hidden in a mustard seed (Mark 4:31-33) We understand that the Kingdom of God begins small, but grows large, for this reason we are not discouraged by what we see: 2 Corinthians 4:18.
In Lusaka, we are gathering between 20 to 25 people, with the vision of eternity I can see the outlines of a City Changing Church.  The question that we’re asking is what sort of Church will change a city? We are becoming convinced that it is a Church where we lay down our lives for one another by the eternal power of God breaking out in us. We expect this power to be seen wherever we are and with whomever we are.
There is a risk in this. We are making friendships that will be broken when we return to the UK, we might take steps of faith and see no immediate return, we cling to risk taking because we are eternal.

The last fortnight has been eventful. We had a weekend in Kitwe which is a 5 hours drive north of Lusaka. I had my first experience of preaching in 2 morning services, the Kitwe Church is called Dayspring . It was a very exciting time, 6 people responded to the gospel and there was a good opportunity to pray for people. Whilst I was preaching a goods train went past the Church, its horn blowing. It felt like a trumpet call. The Kitwe Church has planted 9 other Churches and is a great example of what we are looking for in Lusaka. The Church in Kitwe runs 2 orphanages and feeding programmes for malnourished children. Whilst in Kitwe we had our first experience of deep fried eating caterpillars (surprisingly nice!)

Kitwe Feeding programme

We now have a car,which is making travel a lot easier. We are so grateful to the members of our Church in Bexleyheath for loaning us the money to buy the car.

Our car

In the remaining time before returning to the UK for Christmas, we hope to visit Christian Discipleship Church in Kabwe. The Church is hosting a conference in April when Terry Virgo and Stephen Van Rhyn are coming to speak. We are helping with the planning. For those of you who know me well, you will understand that by “we” I mean Elizabeth!
As December approaches and we celebrate the breaking in of eternity into the world in the person of Jesus Christ let’s remember that we are eternal and cling to risktaking even if it is reluctantly.


  1. Missing you both very much, can't wait to see you at Christmas!

  2. Hi Chris,

    I don't think we've met, but my name is Simon Benham and I lead a Newfrontiers church in Bracknell in the UK. I write because for four years we've been involved in an HIV/AIDS project in Serenje, working with the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia and Tearfund. We also have a couple who will be moving out to Lusaka in March to work with EFZ developing a child protection strategy.
    It's great to read through your blog what you're up to. I'll be praying for your success. Perhaps we could meet up next time we're in Zambia or you're in the uk.


  3. Thank you for the picture of the car! Annabel and I were talking the other day about when we gave the offering for that! A picture really helps!