For 2 weeks, the IPICM team of 5 Americans and a Zambian national travelled the “copper belt” region of northwestern Zambia, conducting pastoral-leadership training seminars, broadcasting 3 nights of evangelistic radio messages, holding a 3 night crusade in a socially disengaged community and establishing a church plant in that same community, and all while distributing bibles and reading glasses.
Two of the team’s members (Michael Pruitt and Windell Garrett) were new to Africa, while Peter Valenzuela celebrated his return from the previous year. Dr. Michael Lanier and Harrison Hunter were veteran missionary-evangelists, having ministered in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia over the previous 6 years.
As you’re about to read, God did marvelous works in terms of salvations, wonders, and one occasion, turned the devil’s attempt to slay the righteous into a thing of glory. With regard to the latter, where there are those willing to answer God’s call to serve, our Master’s work will not be thwarted.
The team departed the United States in 3 groups over the course of the first weekend, arriving within hours of one another in Ndola, Zambia, on Tuesday, May 30th. With everyone united, joy was a bit muted as it became immediately apparent that some of the bags failed to complete the journey—again—and as it would turn out, at least one failed to find its way to its owner before the last day!
That night, after everyone had retired to their rooms, the degree of the ensuing spiritual battle quickly began to reveal itself: one of the “first- timers” sought Dr. Michael’s intercession; struggling with severe thoughts of unworthiness and accusations. The battle continued the next morning (Wednesday) when Dr. Michael awoke with his own spiritual struggle. A short time later, another first-timer shared how his dreams had been invaded with “provocative” images. As it turned out, all 5 men experienced accusative night-time attacks, clearly demonstrating the presence and hatred of a very real spiritual enemy.
After breakfast, a time was set aside for shopping, but as events played out, no one could anticipate what would soon take place. While the team slowly made its way across a parking lot toward a series of shops, Dr. Michael never saw the car that clipped his leg, knocking him to the ground. It seemed as time had stopped as he lay there writhing in pain, holding his hyper-extended knee. A crowd quickly gathered. When able to again stand, Dr. Michael hugged the driver of the car, assuring the driver that all was forgiven. He then turned to the crowd and proclaimed “what the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good.” (Gen. 50:20) Following the unprompted message, 13 men in the crowd prayed for salvation; some of which later joined the team at a local church meeting. The overall experience was well worth the pain, though Dr. Michael walked with a cane for the duration of the mission trip.
That evening, Harrison and Peter co-preached at the Ndola Bethel Mission church, to an attendance of 53 adults; 3 of which received Jesus Christ. Michael P. and Wendell joined in ministry as the team prayed for healing. (Dr. Michael stayed back to rest and recover.) Among those healed were 4 church members that had cataracts; 2 with misshapen corneas; 1 received restored hearing; and others that had suffered from hypertension, knee and back problems, anxiety, along with a child that suffered from tachycardia.
On the next day (Thursday), the team departed Ndola for Chingola and then Solweizi. Picture if you will, 7 men travelling in a car fitted with 3 bench seats and the vehicle’s back end overly packed with seemingly endless baggage. To add to the obvious discomfort shared by all, the 7-hour journey from Chingola to Solweizi was along mostly pothole-stricken pavement or bumpy dirt roads. Now, add to your imagination clouds of red dust wafting by rolled-down windows, with handkerchiefs stretched across every nose. Truly, missions to the back-side of the world is not for the faint of heart!
After staying the night in Solweizi, the team shared another eventful day (Friday) as they made their way to the small bush community of Kasempa. In many parts of African backcountry, vehicular traffic is uncommon. (Highway traffic—if it exists—is mostly comprised of oxcarts, bicycles, and pedestrians.) The road to Kasempa was all but deserted when the vehicle’s left front tire blew. Thankfully, there was enough tread on the spare to replace another tire, which in turn, replaced the blown tire, thus allowing the team to eventually limp its way to its destination. No one dared ponder the likelihood of additional surprises.
Over the course of 48 hours, 7 congregations completed their march through the bush to converge on Kasempa for the upcoming leadership conference; some believers walking for as many as 50 kilometers (31 miles).
During the opening meeting, the bush came alive with the praise music; the kind that only an African a Capella choir of many voices could offer. Following the heavenly praise, Michael P. brought a message and led 1 individual to Christ. That evening, with most of the conference’s participants present, Peter preached to an estimated attendance of 150, with most present praying to get right with God.
The next morning (Saturday), Dr. Michael taught on the Kingdom of God; specifically, with regard to the role of believers in the Kingdom. An invitation to receive Christ followed with 30 souls professing their need for the Savior. After lunch, a second session commenced: recapping the morning session; including a discussion on the place of spiritual gifts in confirming the Kingdom message; and a general Q and A session.
The evening service was marked with unquestionable power. Harrison brought the message to an assembly of 180 souls, with 10 praying to receive Christ Jesus. Afterward, Peter prophesied that there were people present with medical needs, which he was careful to specify. In all, 6 individuals—1 responding to each specific prophetic utterance—came forward; healing was spoken over each one; and all 6 received their healing. Then Dr. Michael addressed the crowd, speaking healing, to those seeking physical restoration. Approximately 100 persons received healing, demonstrating as much by doing what they couldn’t do just moments prior. Those that didn’t receive healing were again prayed for by the rest of the team with about 35 more healed by the close of the meeting. Some of the healings include a short foot that was lengthened; 2 individuals with side, arm, or leg paralysis were healed; a woman using “witches clay” renounced the practice and was healed; lungs were cleared; many backs, neck, shoulders, ears, knees and more, were healed.