Over the last few weeks it’s been a whirlwind of ministry time filled with every kind of emotion from the happiest to the saddest as well as much wonderful spiritual growth. I trust that many of you have been following some of this on the “New Life Center Zambia” Facebook post. If you have not joined, I would once again recommend that you do. It’s the easiest way to quickly keep an eye on what God is doing here in Zambia through the New Life Center ministries. And, it’s a lot easier for us to post things, as they happen, with our smartphones!
The Holy Spirit Encounter, once again, has been the highlight of the year for many of our Zambia pastors and church leaders, as well as for us. It is truly a time of spiritual refreshment and learning for all who attend. Each year there is always one or two things that stick out and will linger in our minds until next year or sometimes even for our entire life. Our three evangelists; Blake Lorenz, Ken Suckling, and Scott George, poured their hearts into each session. I, Delbert, even had a chance to share in one of the sessions.
If you think YOUR local pastor at your church doesn’t need time to renew the spiritual fire in his or her heart so they can best serve your church family you need to think again. For pastors in Africa that are on the cutting edge pioneering the way, this need for spiritual renewal is even greater. Life in some of the poorest conditions the mind can imagine causes many difficulties. Most of our pastors are living by faith day to day. However, God is so good and somehow keeps the needs of everyone met in a supernatural way as His word is shared throughout the land. We, you and I, need to keep supporting ALL of our African pastors throughout Africa. That’s what missions is all about.
Sandy and I and the NLC staff are blessed to have our hands play a small roll in the Zambian lives God has given us to minister with. Please keep your prayer and support coming. It is making a difference. It’s going to be wonderful to see, one day in heaven, how the time and investment all of us have put into the life of ministry, both in our local church and here in Zambia, has made a difference in the lives of those suffering around us. Remember, it doesn’t end when you stop breathing air, there is so much more!
I’m adding a bunch of pictures from the HSE at the end of this email.
They tell the story so much better…
Emily Padilla and Cathy Hatcher did a wonderful job of taking pictures… THANK YOU!
One of the saddest, yet happiest, moments this last week was when one of our dearest and closest friends stepped into Heaven with our Lord. Dr. Chola Mutale has been fighting cancer for the last few months. He left behind his dear wife of 47 years, Evelin Mutale, who he met in Germany while attending Medical University. He was an orthopedic surgeon. He was also one of the smartest, sharpest, well-read, and spirit-filled men I have ever known. He was a constant, living testimony for Jesus Christ (Evelin is too) to all he met. They have two grown children, Bianca and Stanley, with families. Sandy and I met the Mutales in 2000 and have been close friends ever since. Chola asked me before his passing to bring the message at his burial. I was deeply honored. They took his body to the small, family village outside of Ndola, where his mother was born. I’m telling you about this because I had something happen to me the morning of the burial that has happened one other time in my life when my father passed away. I’m trusting the rest of this will be a testimony of God’s power and love for us.
About one o’clock in the morning, while I was sleeping in the Mutale’s house, I heard someone calling my name, “Delbert – Delbert”. I woke up and looked around. It sounded just like Chola’s voice, but no one was there. Of course I couldn’t go back to sleep and I started thinking about Chola and why, out of all the great people and pastors he personally knew, he would ask me to bring the message at his burial. Then I heard this voice again. It sounded just like Chola saying, “I’m alright”, then as if this voice was reading my mind it said, “Tell my village family to get ready”.
Now, I have never preached at a burial service before so evangelist Scott George shared with me an outline he has used over the years. “The three things Death cannot steal from us; Our LOVE, our MEMORIES and our VICTORY. So about 5:00am, Emily Padilla, a missionary who is part of the NLC staff, and I drove to the village. Sandy stayed in Lusaka at the Mutale’s house. Evelin had already left the day before to accompany the body to the burial site. The service started at 10:30am and ended at 3:00pm. It was really a wonderful tribute to Chola filled with personal testimonies from family and friends. Africans know how to do it right! Then it came time for the message. I used the outline that Scott had given me.
As I began speaking, I felt the anointing of God all over me. What a peace! I shared how death cannot take our Love for one another away. How Chola’s life poured love out to everyone he met and especially to his patients. Many were there and gave their testimony. Then I shared about the Memories we’ll have forever, especially Evelin after 47 years of being his help mate and closest friend. Then I went on to Victory. 1-Cor 15:55…. “O Death where is your victory. O death where is your sting”. John 14… “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” As it came to the end of the message I found myself saying, “If you, and not Chola, was the one in this box do you know for sure, 100%, that you will be in heaven? ARE YOU READY?” I said many other things, but I asked them, “If you have any doubt about where you stand with God and eternity let this be your day to fix that. Stand up right where you are and I’ll lead us in a prayer called a salvation prayer”. There were over two hundred people there. More than half of them stood up and prayed a prayer asking God to forgive their sin and inviting Jesus in to take leadership of their lives. It was a wonderful moment for all that prayed. It was a wonderful moment for me and Evelin and all of us there that knew Jesus as Lord and Savior. One of the village headsman came to me afterward, with tears in his eyes and said, “Because of Chola and your message today thousands will be found in heaven one day.” Oh how I pray that will be true!
Delbert & Sandy Groves