This article was originally published in the March 2021 edition of ITMI Monthly.
February 1 was just the beginning of the total transformation that immersion in God’s Word promises to yield in many of the lives of Kapiri families.
“What once seemed like a dream is now reality!”
This is how our long-time partner, Eugene Kalunga of Zambia describes what happened on February 1, 2021 in the village of Lubemba in Zambia.
Lubemba is a small village in the thick of the Zambian bush. The nearest town is Kapiri Mposhi. The villagers live in either mud huts or roughly constructed cement structures. There are no infrastructure, services or retail businesses nearby.
The drive from Kabwe, where Eugene's first school, Excellence Christian Academy is located, to Kapiri Mposhi.
Spring of Love is located in a rural village called Lubemba. The church Eugene planted meets in this structure.
For years, the children of Lubemba have been excluded from attending school.
For years, the children of Lubemba, especially the youngest ones, have been excluded from attending school because the distance to the nearest school was much too far for them to walk, requiring them to be unsupervised for too long and unable to communicate with their parents.
“The next school is far from this village and hasn’t been safe for small children,” says Webby Mulenga, a village man.
Exclusion from school typically is a sentence to a future of poverty, struggle for survival or a life of difficult physical labor for mere cents in return.
Until Eugene’s evangelism teams arrived, they were also stuck in the joyless, fear-filled ancestral-worship mindset. They lived in fear daily, generation after generation, and were excluded from the hope and light that Jesus brings into hearts and minds.
For years now, Eugene has led evangelism outreach teams into the Zambian bush to share Jesus with the villagers struggling to survive there. These are villages of no strategic, financial or political consequence.
“They go where many big church leaders don’t want to go. You see, there isn’t money to be made there. It is an actual sacrifice for those that go,” wrote ITMI Director, Steve Evers about Eugene and his evangelism teams.
“As I was praying one day,” Eugene wrote matter-of-factly, “the Lord told me, ‘There is a place in Kapiri Mposhi where my love shall spring forth to other places and people of different races and countries and with different skills shall come to teach, and equip different people from a spring of love.’ ”
Later, Eugene and an outreach team of students he’d taught the SALT material to, were headed toward Kapiri, sharing Jesus as they went.
“As we were heading to Kapiri Town, the Lord instructed me to stop at this particular area and told me that this is the place! …We then thanked God for His confirmation of the area.”
Two weeks later, the group returned to learn more about the area. They found it was a cluster of 5 villages: Pwele, Kasempa, Nkausu, Saini and Lubemba, which is at the center of the cluster.
Under Eugene and Audrey’s leadership, a church was planted in the village. Right away, 62 children from the area were committed to coming regularly to learn about Jesus and be discipled. But there were still at least 40-50 children that didn’t come to church.
The Department of Education in Zambia had been pleading with Eugene for years to duplicate and expand the success of ITMI’s Excellence Christian Academy, which Eugene founded and continues to serve as Principal.
Eugene recognized that making a Christian school available in the village would be an effective way to reach more families in the area and entrench the Gospel in the hearts and minds of the people in the area.
We shared this project with ITMI supporters, many of whom were moved by God’s Spirit to give generously to help Eugene spread the Gospel in Zambia by providing funding to build several cement structures that serve as the school’s classrooms and office.
In partnership with ITMI’s Timothy and Ashley Keller, Ascension Lutheran Church in Tucson, Arizona funded a borehole, water tower and solar pump providing fresh water for the school and blessing the village families with a nearby source of clean, safe water.
Thanks to the Kellers and Ascension Lutheran Church of Tucson, Arizona, clean, safe water is now available onsite at Spring of Love.
The nearby water tower ensures water is readily available.
Students at desks donated by ITMI supporters on the first day of school.
One of the Spring of Love buildings, ready for students!
Spring of Love students on the first day of school.
Village mothers chat after registering their children for school at Spring of Love.
After being delayed multiple times by the COVID-19 pandemic, on February 1, 2021, fifty-three mask-clad children from the five villages sat excitedly in cement-walled classrooms at desks, tables and chairs lovingly donated by ITMI supporters.
For the families, they are relieved that their children will be getting educated.
“I thank God for bringing this school near us because children would have had to walk long distances to learn. We are grateful to God because we have the advantage of enrolling our children,” said one village mother when she arrived at the school to enroll her children.
But her children will be getting so much more than an education through the years spent at Spring of Love being molded by God’s Word and His people. Eugene is a well-seasoned educator who has been sharing Christ through Christian education for over 30 years.
He is passionate about evangelism, and the culture of Excellence Christian Academy reflects it.
Spring of Love’s curriculum and educational experiences will mirror the proven high-quality, Bible-centered curriculum of Excellence Christian Academy.
February 1 was just the beginning of the total transformation that immersion in God’s Word promises to yield in many of the lives of Kapiri families. Isaiah 55:10-11
As we know, when individuals change and begin living for Jesus, families change. As families change, villages change.
We are expectant that God will use the teaching of His Word to revolutionize the culture of this cluster of villages, calling to Himself a people equipped to love and serve Him with their lives, a gift made possible through the sacrificial giving of many of you.
-Summer Kelley, Steve Evers
About the Authors
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 4 years. Steve lives in Arizona with his wife, Darlene.
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