Margaret and Gervas, husband and wife and members of the Central Impact Team, paid an initial visit to Kamchanga. The people they met there told them that it is a very, very difficult area to live with many people being alcoholics and with witchcraft being practised widely. Margaret and Gervas offered to come and run a Dignity School of Rural Evangelism explaining that they had would share ideas that could help their community. The people accepted the offer and a date was set for the School of Rural Evangelism.
Crying in the night
The time for the training came and the team returned to Kamchanga and set up their tents which would be home for the next few days. During the night they heard people crying and wailing in the village. Early in the morning someone came to inform them that a young man had died in the community and the funeral would start today.
Many people were involved in the funeral preparations so would not be able to attend the training event but a few people began to gather as planned. Margaret was concerned by the fact someone had died and wanted to know what they could do to help as they were in some way part of the community now at this sad time. Together, they decided that they should wait and see how the day took shape rather than rushing to start the training. They decided to all pay a visit to the family of the young man who had died to support them in any way they could.
Margaret says, “When we went there, people were a bit confused and disorganised. They didn’t know what was going on. The young man had been attacked in the night and was killed. Two of the suspects were already apprehended. We spent some time with the family members and they seemed and appeared so confused. They didn’t know what they were going to do about that funeral. We felt that we should comfort and encourage the mourners together with those who had come for the training so we started singing some songs. We prayed with them and then we left.”
After that, the team decided to postpone the training to allow everyone to be free to join the funeral. The told those who had come for the training to contact them once they were ready to set another date.
An open door to return
Over the coming weeks, the team was surprised. People they had not met before starting calling them and reminding them about the training in Kamchanga, asking us to come back soon. Dates were set and the team returned as promised. Margaret explains, “When we went back for the training the next time, we were so surprised. Compared with the environment we were told it used to be and the response we found there, we were shocked! It didn’t match. People were so happy, so encouraged. Afterwards we just continued to receive phone calls inviting us to return to continue with more training. I think what really touched them was that we had shared with them in that funeral situation they were going through. Later on we went and shared the gospel and that made us in good contact with them and then they really learned that we are not meant to be cruel with each other, but rather to love one another and move together as a community. The example the team gave and did, and talking about what God did, it helped people to see and to change.”
Gervas adds that, “One other thing that really encouraged the people was that we we discussed with them that even those that were involved in committing the murder are people who are from within our homes, in fact some of them are our own children. If we can show them a way of love and teach them the ways of God, the Lord at his own time will be able to meet them and even change them. Pray for them. And then love will begin to emerge in our communities and people will be able to appreciate one another. So in a way, it may seem that what we are doing might seem nothing or nonsense to some, but I mean it is so important. It is building our communities, its bringing a change in our communities, simple as it may appear. We are showing people a different way by being different ourselves. We are encouraging people to go a different way.”
Two other encouragements
Two other encouraging things happened. Firstly, the person who coordinated the team’s visits to Kamchanga was a young man who had met Margaret and Gervas when they came to his village. He wanted to love and care for the community of Kamchanga where he knew a number of people so he asked Margaret and Gervas if they would run a training event there if volunteered to make the practical arrangements. Secondly, the teams normally buy the food needed for training events and take it with them. This is no small job as they are often feeding up to 30 people. Having prayed about it they had decided that they would not buy the food to carry with them as normal, rather they would buy the food from within the community. Although this is always more complicated they felt it was the right thing to do this time and, in the long run, it meant no money, time or food was wasted.