What if......you started with an infinite, all-powerful God, added 7 servants ready and eager to do his work, and completed the mix with a community of receptive hearts, anxious to hear the Good News? Could the result be a new congregation of the Lord's Body, where none existed before? Not that God needs us to complete him, or to make him more of a God, but that's the way he's chosen to accomplish his work -- through fragile, imperfect jars of clay like you and me (2 Corinthians 4:7).
The taskThe task was to plant a congregation in Ondangwa Namibia. The church is strong in Namibia, but not many congregations exist in the small towns and rural areas in Northern Namibia. Ondangwa was a good choice for many reasons, some of which are that it's a good-sized city of 23,000 people, and we had a connection through one of the Windhoek sisters to provide the location for the Gospel Chariot to park for the week.
The teamThe 7 members of the team were from 4 different congregations in the U.S., 3 members being from Arkansas and 4 from Texas. In the photo below, you see (L-to-R, back row), Anthony Ngabwe, Mike & Diane Knappier, Bob Grinslade, Lyman Mpharo, Tommy LeFan, Joel Lewis, and Joseph Petrus. Front row, Robert Hara, Bob Mathews, and Charlie Worrell.
Mike & Diane are from the Northside congregation in Benton AR, Joel is from the Lawson Rd. congregation in Little Rock AR, Bob is from the Southern Hills congregation in Buda TX, and the other Americans are from the Fredericksburg TX congregation.
The workCertainly the most immediate work was getting the word out -- letting people know we were there, inviting them to Bible study and evening worship, and letting them know where the congregation would be meeting after we left. We were encouraged by the receptive hearts and the willingness of the Ondangwa residents to hear the message.
|Here you see Bernard (L) and then him and Mike (R) greeting neighbors & inviting them to study. Tommy and Robert study with a local family, and Joel going door-to-door with Anthony and Bernard.|
|Clockwise, from top left, Tommy & Bob G. conduct a study; Robert & Bernard show the sign that we placed by the roadway so people would know who we were; Diane did a great work teaching the children every day; one of the families who heard the Word.|
|Charlie and Bob G. engaged in studies.|
|Charlie takes Liina's confession & baptizes her. Liina was the first convert of the week, and was present every day for study, and every night for worship.|
|New converts, clockwise from top left: Mike, Charlie, and Bob G. with Liina; Robert takes Ronny's confession, Tommy introduces some of the new converts to the congregation on Friday night; Tommy with Martinez.|
Evening worshipWe met for worship from 6 to 8 PM each night from Tuesday through Saturday. Preaching during the week were Anthony, Bob M., Joel, Mike, and Tommy.
|Mike preached on Tuesday night. The crowd was light that night, but increased in number every day.|
|We met every night during the week for worship.|
|Mike teaching Bible class on Sunday morning.|
|Tommy gives some final encouragement to the new congregation on Sunday morning.|
Off to a good startWe ended the week with 34 studies and 11 baptisms. After worship Sunday morning, Anthony held a business meeting with the congregation, and several stepped up to provide needed services -- taking care of the Sunday offering, building a meeting facility, and membership, to name a few.
|Anthony (in the suit) and Peter (wearing a hat) meet with the congregation after worship on Sunday.|
|Baptismal garments & towels hanging out to dry. This is what it's all about!|