ITMI Monthly: Would you please summarize your ministry in Zambia.
The primary focus of our ministry in Zambia is transformation through the Word of God. We do that by working with teachers, schools and church leaders.
ITMIM: Why is there a need for that?
Zambia claims to be a Christian nation, but for many, “Christianity will bring the most benefits for me.” They don't know much about God's Word but they are open to hearing more.
They still have old ancestral worship traditions that drive their behavior. Since their behavior hasn’t changed, the consequences haven't really changed. They are still dealing with the same problems: poverty, HIV, corrupt governments.
Our goal is to teach people to think more clearly and Biblically about the everyday decisions of life. The best way I've found to do that is reaching youth in schools. It’s easier and most fruitful to start from knowing truth than to undo years of believing lies.
One of the best ways to teach people to think more clearly and Biblically about the everyday decisions of life is reaching youth in schools.
ITMIM: How would you summarize the worldview of the typical Zambian?
It’s a combination of Christianity and traditional Animism (the idea that ancestors control everything). The typical African sees church as a good thing that offers power, but when their kids get sick they go to a witch doctor. The urban areas are also getting bombarded by worldly stuff.
ITMIM: Why is the timing of these projects so important?
I think God has big plans for Zambia; it could supply the next generation of missionaries going into the world.
I hear a lot of “I want to be a missionary to…” many countries around Africa. I'm always glad to see that kind of zeal, but they need to be equipped with the Word of God in order to bring truth to those countries.
On a larger scale, if the church is going to be able to send missionaries, they are going to need a generation of believers with a good work ethic and integrity who have the means to send them.
Today’s children who are educated from a Christian perspective will be the ones that are running businesses, working productively and supporting missionaries.
Today's children who receive an education will be the ones running businesses and working productively. If those children see the world through a Biblical perspective, it will make a big difference.
ITMIM: Why aren't others focusing on youth?
A lot of people don't see the value of youth because youth aren't currently contributing to society. You need a long-term perspective to realize that you are investing now for a later harvest.
Typically, Zambians haven't valued their kids according to Biblical values. If dad comes home with a chicken, he gets the big pieces, mom gets some and kids get the bones. This consumption is causing cultural problems. It means nothing will change.
ITMIM: What are the greatest needs (specific to them) of those you minister to?
Students need their schools to be better equipped with physical materials to function as educational institutions. Teachers need a better understanding of God's Word. Pastors need a deeper look into God's word.
Zambian pastors tend to be educated more by TV than by the Word of God. What we find on TV is popular, but less Biblical, and the result is churches are being built on ideas that are artificial.
Another big need, and our prayer, is that God would work to restore Biblical families in Zambia. That parents would assume their role as Biblical parents and they would love their kids the way God requires.
ITMIM: Why is a container so effective?
It meets an immediate need: more Bibles, more educational materials.
Many teachers are just teaching what they can remember. If they have textbooks, those aren’t telling the Biblical story. Many believers don’t have Bibles because they can’t afford them.
But also, it’s helping me develop a network for meeting the long-term need of a complete curriculum from a Biblical perspective that is culturally relevant.
Timothy training teachers to use their first container's materials.
ITMIM: How have you seen God go ahead of you in your ministry?
Recently, the way this whole container project came together. Books have poured in from all over the country - we actually have more books than we need. It’s a good problem to have as compared to the first container that took much longer to fill. We know God's really behind it.
Books and discipleship materials ready to be shipped to Africa!
Also, on this trip [time in the States], I've had to do more medical treatments and we've had enough personal support coming in to cover it without even telling people what we've needed.
God provided even before we needed to ask.
We'll get our support and it’s more than usual and then next month get a medical bill and say, “Oh, that's why.”
ITMIM: Do you have anything to add for our ITMIM readers?
We're really grateful for faithful help and prayer. We know they are praying because our needs are being met as they come up and that's the hand of God working in conjunction with prayers of His people.
Summer Kelley is a writer who lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and three kids. She has had the privilege of telling ITMI's stories since 2006.
Steve Evers has advocated for and served the ITMI partners as ITMI Director since 2001. Approximately once a year, Steve visits with ITMI partners in their countries and brings stories back to encourage supporters. Steve enjoys photography and mechanics, (both hobbies that have greatly benefited ITMI partners!) Prior to becoming ITMI's Director, Steve served on the Board of Directors for 12 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.