Reflections on mission to Diocese of Lusaka
That great and wonderful hymn ‘Be thou my vision, O lord of my heart’ by Mary Byrne were my soul words in my experience with the South African SOMA mission to the Diocese of Lusaka right from our arrival on Saturday being met by a number of the council members and parishioners of our host parish of St Peter’s Lusaka. We arrived in a Diocese who had experienced the death of their well-loved Bishop David Njovu. We were honoured to start our mission by being invited guests to the ordination service on Sunday of two priests conducted by Archbishop Albert Chama in the absence of their bishop. Because of the ordination many priest from far and wide arrived on the Saturday for the ordination, we were given the opportunity to address them all that evening where Eben and Bruce were able to give comprehensive overviews of SOMA and GTC respectively with more than sufficient follow-up questions from the audience.
Why ‘Be thou my vision, O lord of my heart’ journeyed with me throughout the mission was; we were experiencing a Diocese with a united vision and purpose, a vision of becoming more Evangelical and church growth through church planting. And yes the heart and head don’t always travel at the same rate. I sensed that the head questioned and challenged but never opposed the united vision; clearly, the Lord was indeed the Lord and vision of the folks’ hearts as they moved forward in their obedience to God. It was with this attitude that made it both easy and hard for us as a team to witness to the churches of the Diocese of Lusaka. Easy because the folk were hungry for affirmation that they were indeed on the Lord’s chosen path for them. Difficult because they would constantly ask how things were happening back in South Africa, how does one share that you are ministering from out of a country that is not only broken and divided but has no true united vision of the future. Fortunately God does not depend on the things of this world to grow his kingdom but uses those who desire the heart of God.
It was so spiritually uplifting to minister to people who were hungry for the word of God even though they were receiving it in full force already. The time spent in discussions and informal conversation after our missional address was so fruitful for all parties. I came away having my heart even more enflamed by the power of the Holy Spirit and I bring “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart’ back with me to make it even more of a reality in the place I find myself with a congregation that is focused in following the vision of Christ.
I have come to realise for myself that part of SOMA’s roll is one of ‘sharing our Jesus story’ and one of encouraging the Dioceses and parishes we visit in their journey of spiritual growth. we can no longer be in the ministry of telling people how to do ministry but be a spiritual reflective mirror for those we visit in order for them to recognise and be encouraged where they are succeeding and to discover areas in themselves where they can grow and expand.
I encourage you dear members of SOMA and GTC to offer yourselves for mission regardless of how broken you may see yourself or how little you believe you have to offer, for when Christ is truly your vision and Lord of your heart, then from out of brokenness, only new life and wholeness will follow.
Rev Norman Allkins