You can learn a lot about someone, driving in the same vehicle for seven hours.
You can also lose some circulation.
Such is the case of Day 7, where a trip to the Copperbelt was on the agenda, specifically Ndola, the third largest city in Zambia with a population of a half million.
Only 10 kilometers from the Congo border, Ndola is a key city in reaching Zambia for Christ as it is part of the country’s main industry hub.
“A Zambia revival”, Mpundu Mutala emphatically says, “will start in the Copperbelt.”
No copper mines can be found within the Ndola city limits. In fact, many have closed in the region.
But just 10 kilometers southeast of town the copper plant Bwana Mkubwa reopened in January after being shut down for a year.
And as industry begins to pick up in this region, so does the fervor of expanding the Kingdom for God. That evidence was clear as a Wednesday morning My Hope vision meeting attracted 158 pastors and church leaders.
As pastors sang together, in both Bemba and English, the unity of this project was starting to crystalize.
Pentecostals? Baptists? Presbyterians?
This was about evangelism. And spreading the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a country that was declared a Christian nation in 1991.
“This is a prayer answered to Zambia,” said Bishop Nelly Chikwanda, who has lead the Operation Christmas Child program here for 10 years. “This has been proclaimed a Christian nation, but My Hope will bring it to reality. As leaders of a nation, we didn’t know how to realize this.”
Chikwanda is the type of person you’d like to have around. Be it leading a safari or taking back a pair of jeans without a receipt.
She has a passion and a fire that can’t be put out and she is not afraid to speak the truth.
“We have seen the work of Franklin Graham so it’s very easy [to get involved],” Chikwanda said. “I thank God I’m alive at this time to see this come to reality.”
Just as I was thankful to see what I saw. To be a witness to God’s work in Africa. To meet people whose faces will be forever engrained in my mind.
I look back on my trip, to the forever-cheerful young pastor Jacob Mtonga, whose personality matched his shiny white shoes.
Jacob was the kind of person who epitomized Zambia’s friendly reputation. Always with a smile. Loves to shake your hand.
The two of us talked about My Hope. We talked about life in Zambia and in America. We talked white shoes. And where I can get me a pair like that.
But it was his parting words, I’ll never forget: “You know, I have a friend in the United States.”
“Oh yeah,” I said, curiously. “Who’s that?”
He smiled and paused just for a second.
“7 Days of Zambia” is a first-person blog, following the My Hope Zambia project through the lens of a reporter. For more info on the My Hope project, click here.