As cracks of thunder boomed and streaks of lightening pierced the dark evening sky, almost 100 people snaked their way through muddy rutted roads, ankle-deep puddles and rain-soaked grass to gather at the United Church of Zambia in Kaloko Village outside Ndola, one of the largest cities in Zambia.
An outdoor projector showing had been scheduled in this rural village about four hours north of Lusaka, the country’s capital, but torrential downpours forced the My Hope Zambia event indoors. But technical difficulties with electrical outlets inside the church prevented the DVD program to be shown altogether.
Chilekwa Mulenga, the My Hope regional coordinator for the Copperbelt Region, didn’t panic however when both Plans A and B failed. Instead of becoming flustered, he improvised so that the Gospel of Jesus Christ could still be proclaimed.
The 82 people in attendance took cues from Mulenga and first sang with great fervor and joy in their voices about how there’s no one like Jesus.
Next up was the dramatic testimony by Kisna, a 23-year-old man known almost as a local town scoundrel but who has seen his life transformed since giving his life to Christ just a few months ago.
“I’m sure most of you know me, certainly most of the girls in this village know me,” Kisna told the attentive crowd. “I was a womanizer. I used to steal. I had so much evil in my life.”
Kisna said he thought he was a Christian because he attended church and even read the Bible.
“Then I read Matthew 7:21 that says, ‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven,’” Kisna said.
The young man related how he then heard that God loves him so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross to save him from his sins and to forgive him for all his wrongdoing. “That’s when I surrendered my life to the Lord and accepted Him into my life,” Kisna said. “Now I have a relationship with God, and Jesus is giving me the desire and the power to live in a godly way that pleases Him.”
The audience burst into applause.
Chilekwa Mulenga stood and began proclaiming the Good News. “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Mulenga said. He quoted John 3:16—”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life (NASB).”
Going to church cannot save a person, Mulenga stated. Nor can one earn his or her way into Heaven by doing good works, he added.
“Sometimes it’s very difficult to see yourself as a sinner,” the My Hope regional coordinator said. “But the Bible says that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
Mulenga went on to say that each person must come to realize that he needs to confess and repent of his sins and receive Jesus Christ as Savior by faith.
“The question is, ‘Where will you spend all eternity?” Mulenga asked with passion and conviction.
He asked people to get out of their seats and walk forward to where he was standing and commit their lives to Christ. Forty-two people responded and prayed to receive Christ into their hearts.
A 23-year-old man named Christopher came forward. He said he had been suffering from epileptic seizures, sometimes four times a day. Bad dreams also plagued him. After surrendering his life to Jesus, Christopher asked for prayer. “I know that this same God who saved me can also help me. I want to follow Him.”
After the conclusion of the program, Mulenga said he is deeply encouraged by what God did, despite the foul weather and technical challenges. “Evangelism is spiritual warfare, and the Bible says that we’re always to be ready to preach Christ and the Cross,” he said. “We came here tonight that people could hear the Gospel and that’s been done and people gave their lives to Jesus. I’m thankful to God.”
Beginning Thursday and continuing through Saturday, Dec. 1-3, the My Hope program will be broadcast on national television and radio and shown by DVD throughout the country. Nearly 6,000 churches, almost 1,800 from the Copperbelt Region, are participating.