The rain started just after 3 a.m. Zambian time.
The skies had opened wide on the morning of Nov. 15, and a torrential downpour hammered the capital city of Lusaka for several hours.
It’s the beginning of the rainy season in this land-locked southern African country. You can almost set your watch to it.
But this year, 2011, it’s also time for a harvest, one like Zambia has never seen.
“Our nation is on God’s calendar,” My Hope Zambia national coordinator Mpundu Mutala said. “God has remembered the Zambians.”
The rain continued to pour the next day across Zambia — a welcome break from 95-degree scorchers that have been beating down relentlessly, resulting in “hot, hot, hot, hot, hot days and hot nights.”
But even before the heavy rain arrived, God’s blessing had been showering over this country with more than 5,400 trained churches jumping on board the Billy Graham My Hope World Evangelism Through Television project, set for the first weekend in December.
“December 1, 2 and 3 — those are special nights for us,” Mutala said. “We are believing that on those nights, there will be supernatural breakthroughs and lives will be changed.”
Since the My Hope vision was cast in early May, nearly 50 coordinators have blanketed this country about the size of Texas, turning over every stone to reach every known pastor and evangelical church.
The result has been more than 60,000 trained Matthew hosts, which will hold the 30-minute program in their homes on three consecutive nights, a key component to My Hope.
And at the end of the program, comprised of music, testimony and a message from Billy Graham or Franklin Graham, the host Matthew will turn off the television and give a short personal word of testimony.
Then, at approximately the exact same time in homes across the nation, hundreds of thousands will be invited to make a personal decision to accept Christ into their life.
“The country is so big that we know there will be lives touched,” Mutala said. “There will be radical experiences of the grace of God.”
Finding the My Hope program in Zambia on Dec. 1-3 will not be difficult. Programs will be aired at two different times, on both TV and radio.
At 6:25 p.m., ZNBC will broadcast My Hope programs on TV and radio; at 7:30 p.m., MUVI-TV and Radio Christian Voice will be airing the same programs throughout the country.
Also at 7:30 p.m., smaller radio stations will be carrying My Hope in four of the most popular regional dialects:
Breeze FM (Nyanja) in the Eastern Provence; Sky FM (Tonga) in the Southern Provence; Icengelo Radio (Bemba) in the Northern Provence; and Radio Lyambazi (Lozi) in the Western Provence.
Additionally, a children’s program will be shown at 9:15 a.m. on Dec. 3 on ZNBC and MUVI-TV.
“We are observing things going to another level,” Mutala said. “Momentum has picked up. There’s strength. There’s energy.”
On Nov. 27, the second National Day of Prayer will be held where involved churches will be asked to spend time in their Sunday service praying for My Hope, which will begin four nights later.
“The common denominator is bringing prayer to the program,” Mutala said. “Just a few days before the broadcast, we’ll be calling upon God to do what only He can do.
“The hand of the Lord has been very present. There’s just a sensing of joy. The joy of the Lord surely has been our strength.”
Continued strength is high on the prayer list of the My Hope Zambia team, as well as a continual power supply throughout the broadcasts since rolling blackouts can be commonplace in parts of Zambia.
Another area of prayer is for the My Hope message to reach all those who need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Through television, through radio, through interviews, through the mobile phone, sending text messages, constantly we have been on the move,” said Mutala, who credits the hard work of both the coordinators and the My Hope office team. “They have made it possible for My Hope to become a household name.”