The McKillop's Newsletter: July 2019 - August 2019
Provincial Convention of Churches
Bi-annual conventions are held at Nyangombe by churches in the North Western Province. Leaders and members of congregations travel long distances to fellowship together and to be ministered to. Twenty seven folks from DRC arrived last night at 03:00 in the morning all travelling on motor bikes. Some travelled three to a bike and a few with babies tied to their mother's back made four on a bike!! They arrived thickly covered in the red dust of the roads and in need of a shower and something to eat. Africa demonstrates totally amazing hospitality as families are awakened and ladies begin to cook and feed the guests after they are showered and dressed in clean clothes. All sat down to a hot meal at 04:30 and then had a short time in bed before being up at daylight.
Nyangombe staff have been working hard bringing in 25 tons of chopped up deadfall fire wood for cooking.
Grass shelters were built for hundreds of people and all sleep under the stars. Ladies sent ahead begin food preparation for their friends who will arrive by truck.
Girls bring basins of pure water which is used for drinking and cooking. The bore hole put in five years ago has made an amazing difference to the general health of visitors. No longer do we hold a daily clinic on site for those who are sick!!
A large speaker booms out across the valley as the New Testament in audio is played to welcome the guests. Some have asked that the audio is left playing all night!!! A village, four miles from here, were able to listen last night to the whole of Mark's Gospel before it was switched off at 21:30!! Those of us living close by wanted to sleep; so it will be played from early morning, stopped during meetings and then played again between meetings. This is the Audio New Testament recording in which Nyangombe participated with "Faith Comes by Hearing" and "Hosanah" in 2014. Local people are excited to hear Scripture in their Lunda language and with many being unable to read, it is all the more inspiring!
Trucks begin to arrive fully loaded with people and their goods. Bed rolls and individual bundles tied together with a large cloth knotted at the top are handed down to those on the ground. Young, middle aged and elderly get off the truck with varying degrees of agility, the young being lifted and the elderly respectfully assisted until both feet are firmly on the ground.
Every church group has a male and female grass shelter on opposite sides of the camp site and folks move in to lay claim to their little patch where they put down their bed roll which is normally a reed mat to insulate them from the cold ground. Frequently one can see the same reed mats being carried to meetings where they are used to sit on the ground during meetings as there are never enough chairs to go around. Some chairs are selectively used for the elderly.
As trucks begin to move towards the camp site blowing up a dust cloud in their wake, we begin to get nervous in case there are insufficient shelters for the growing numbers already exceeding 600! During one of the afternoon sessions all adults were asked to collect a small twig and to file past the platform and throw the stick onto the pile. Later the sticks were counted and we had 856 adults present. Some estimated that there were around 150 smaller children so the burden of feeding this number was daunting.
Individual churches were responsible for feeding their own people so ladies were assigned to different days for cooking responsibilities. Smoke from the wood fires often drifted across the body of people seated on the ground and did not disturb them at all as people sat on their bed mats.
During the meetings, delegated men moved throughout the crowd prodding people who dozed off during the message. Yours Truly was prodded once, much to the joy of others around who observed it. Babies were fed during meetings, toddlers did what toddlers do and waddled around but all were very well behaved and amazingly quiet.
Singing is led by chosen groups and the entire congregation joins in with an untaught rhythm emerging as they sing. Babies strapped on their mothers backs move their heads and hands to the same rhythm which is extraordinary to observe! The theme, Knowing Christ remains the focus as on the banner!
Following the evening meeting and the movie, leaders gather around fires to talk and encourage each other. This is an important aspect of gatherings like this where leaders from distant assemblies, far from other churches meet again with friends and other elders who understand the challenges and loneliness of leading assemblies in distant villages. Conference speakers taught Scripture with clarity and folks really appreciated their contribution.
We are grateful to those who have prayed for the work. Now preparations are underway for upwards of a thousand children arriving soon for Children's Camp!
Gordon & Sybil
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