above: Jakarandas in bloom in Lusaka, Zambia
Somehow a month has passed since beginning my surreal life in Lusaka, Zambia. I’m trying to be a supportive embassy wife (yes, I do attend the Diplomatic Spouses Association meetings) while keeping focused on my ministry, but it has been a big adjustment. Bouncing between Congo and the USA every few months can mess with your head. Bouncing daily between the social circles of Lusaka’s upscale neighborhoods and its slums---now that takes prayers for sanity. I pray a lot these days.
I’ve begun itinerate preaching in United Methodist congregations in the poorer parts of the city. District Superintendent John Ilunga selects where I go each week, and Brian, the District Secretary, serves as my fabulous interpreter. Brian and I meet each Saturday to reflect on that week’s lectionary texts (after spending the week studying them). Brian tells me what comes to his mind when he hears the texts—particularly in the context of the congregation we are about to visit. Then I propose a sermon outline, and he tells me if he thinks it will resonate. Brian has remarked that the themes I identify in the lectionary each week keep getting at the heart of the issues for congregations we visit. He says that we keep arriving in congregations at exactly the right week on the lectionary cycle.
above: Brian and DS Ilunga
The weekly sermon-prep Bible studies with Brian have been enlightening for both of us. He has asked that I start a study group with the other church leaders. I think I might do so soon. However, in addition to requests that I start offering classes, Superintendent Ilunga has dropped a big one on me: He is convinced that I am the person he has prayed for to come and start a United Methodist ministry on my side of town [i.e. expats and wealthy Zambians]. I am still discerning how to respond to this proposed appointment.
In the meantime, I am busy taking care of two dogs we just adopted from the shelter, cleaning our large government-assigned house (Come visit!), planting a vegetable garden, hitching rides to the open-air market, baking bread, e-mailing friends in Congo and the USA, attending embassy parties, taking ballet lessons (yup, you read correctly; the troupe’s winter production is raising funds for school construction), and eagerly anticipating the repair of the used car we imported from Japan so that I can spend more time out in the community.
Our new dogs adopted from the local shelter.
Please keep me in your prayers,